Sheriff’s department wraps up weekend killing case

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Autopsy results are in and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department has concluded its investigation of the two Saturday deaths in the Pine Flat community.

According to the sheriff’s department, the verbal altercation between Jose Benitez and Melisa Smith progressed, leading to violence.

“Melisa appeared to have multiple stab wounds that came from Jose Benitez,” said Investigator Alan Wilburn. “Jose Benitez had a gunshot wound that came from Michael Smith. Michael is the husband of Melisa and also the owner of the residence.

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“Michael was asleep when the altercation started outside and when the altercation moved inside this is when Michael heard the disturbance and retrieved a high-powered rifle and shot Jose Benitez, and then called 911.”

Wilburn said the case will be presented to a Lafayette County grand jury on Aug. 30.

Previous reporting on the story can be found here.