Insanity defense offered in case of bludgeoning death

Benjamin George Bonner has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for the beating death of 71-year-old Sequim resident Cynthia Little.

Bonner, 18, will be evaluated for the insanity defense by a state psychologist, Clallam County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin said Friday, Jan. 19.

A review hearing was scheduled for Feb. 2.

Bonner is charged for the murder of Little, a family friend who was described in court documents as a grandmother figure to the teen.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office alleged that Bonner bludgeoned Little to death with a fireplace poker as Little repeatedly said “I love you.”

Bonner allegedly used the same instrument to kill Little’s pet dog and drove Little’s car from her Sunland residence to his home on Bainbridge Island.

At his arraignment last Friday, Bonner pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree animal cruelty.

Bonner could still go to trial if it is determined that he was insane at the time of the murder, Devlin said in a Friday interview.

Little was murdered one day after Bonner was released from a mental health treatment facility for threatening his mother and harming a cat, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

Bonner had an adjustment to his anti-psychotic medication four days before Little’s death, court papers said.

A mental health assessment performed last August found that Bonner met diagnostic criteria for unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder and had a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The initial assessment at Western State Hospital found that Bonner was not competent to stand trial.

Bonner was ordered to take medication to restore his competency.

He was re-evaluated after weeks of taking the anti-psychotic drug olanzapine.

An Oct. 27 report from Western State concluded that a medicated Bonner has the ability to understand the charges against him and to assist in his own defense.

Bonner allegedly apologized for the murder in a Nov. 27 letter to the court.

“I’m truly sorry and in pain over what happened,” Bonner wrote.

Bonner is being held in the Clallam County jail on $1.5 million bail.

Rob Ollikainen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Six-hour closures set at Hood Canal Bridge

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead for a series of consecutive nights… Continue reading

Sequim businesses ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Santa’s arrival

Editor’s note: see shops’ special hours below: Whether you’re looking for a… Continue reading

Sequim Bee Farm wins $20K in Kitsap Bank competition

The buzz is real for Sequim Bee Farm. It’s just that the… Continue reading

Sequim sets the table: Food Bank distributes 900 Thanksgiving meals

Turkey, pie and all the fixings flew off the shelves of the… Continue reading

Follow-ups: Boys Girls Clubs’ 30th auction hits record support, Sequim the cougar doing well

Week to week, reporters cover dozens of stories from the heartbreaking to… Continue reading

City of Sequim considers gaps, solutions to community’s health

The City of Sequim looks to shift and expand its funding for… Continue reading

City plants tree to remember former employee

The memory of one beloved City of Sequim staff member will continue… Continue reading

Sequim putting on Thanksgiving Day meals

Third Thanksgiving meal on tap The third-annual Sequim Community Thanksgiving Dinner is… Continue reading

Community news briefs — Nov. 21, 2018

Family movie night set Olympic Nature Experience hosts a Family Movie Night… Continue reading

Most Read