Police arrest woman's son in St. Cloud homicide case

9:08 PM, Aug 24, 2012   |    comments
Photo by Dave Schwarz, St. Cloud Times
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Murder charges are expected Friday against a Rosemount man accused by police of killing his mother early Thursday in a south St. Cloud home.

The 40-year-old suspect was arrested at 2711 Atwood Drive, the house where his mother and stepfather lived. A neighbor who heard an argument followed by a "blood-curdling scream" called police at about 12:30 a.m., said Lt. Jerry Edblad.

Officers were patrolling nearby and arrived "within a blink," said interim Police Chief Rich Wilson. Officers saw Geraldine Delores Bennett, 68, in a screened-in porch area of the house bleeding from at least one stab wound, Wilson said.

The suspect was still at the house when officers arrived; officers believe they've found the weapon used in the killing, Wilson said.

An autopsy conducted Thursday by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Bennett had at least one stab wound and one that hit an artery and was fatal, Edblad said. Officers tried to save Bennett, and she was taken to St. Cloud Hospital where she died.

The suspect was arrested without incident, and police aren't looking for any additional suspects at this time, Wilson said.

"The community is safe. It's not like we're out there trying to find someone," Wilson said. "But we've had a horrible tragedy here."

The homicide is the first in St. Cloud since a shooting in February 2010 at a poker game in Sherwood Manor left one man dead.

Police are continuing to try to make sense of the killing, but they believe that the suspect was visiting his mother and stepfather and was staying there. Bennett's husband was home at the time of the killing and likely slept through much of the incident. Responding officers said it appeared that Bennett's husband had awakened just before officers arrived.

He is cooperating with the investigation, Edblad said.

Early morning rain prompted a call to St. Cloud firefighters at about 3:45 a.m. to put tarps over the screened-in porch where Geraldine Bennett's body was found to preserve evidence. The house backs up to a swampy area near Javic Park and sits among several other well-maintained properties south of the Calvary Hill neighborhood.

Crime scene tape closed off the street in front of the house early Thursday, and a mobile command unit from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was parked in front of the house. The BCA was assisting in the investigation.

Police have not been called to the residence previously, Wilson said. And there is little criminal history on the suspect other than driving violations that are more than 10 years old.

On Thursday, he was booked into the Stearns County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder. And while he waits for his first court appearance, officers continue to investigate why he would kill his mother.

Wilson wouldn't discuss any possible motive for the killing. But even with a motive, there's much that still doesn't make sense about a stabbing death at the hands of a son.

"Nothing rational will ever fit for doing something like this," Wilson said.

(Copyright 2012 St. Cloud Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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