Ar­rest made in dis­mem­ber­ment case

Decatur man ac­cused of killing girl­friend, dump­ing body parts

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Tyler Smith

Af­ter weeks of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and the Ge­or­gia Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion have made an ar­rest in the mur­der of a Decatur wo­man whose dis­mem­bered body parts were found off Ga. High­way 212 on Oct. 29.

GBI Pub­lic Af­fairs Of­fi­cer John Bankhead said Franklin Ben­son, 47, was ar­rested Sun­day and has been charged in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of his girl­friend, 49 year-old Leslyan Wil­liams of Decatur. Ben­son is cur­rently be­ing held in the New­ton County De­ten­tion Cen­ter.

Bankhead said the case came to­gether when in­ves­ti­ga­tors made a con­nec­tion be­tween the cou­ple and the site where the body parts were lo­cated. When agents fol­lowed up on the lead, they dis­cov­ered Wil­liams had been re­ported miss­ing in Decatur.

“Her fam­ily is from Michi­gan,” Bankhead said. “The last time they heard from her was on Oct. 28, and they re­ported her miss­ing on Nov. 6.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were then able to pos­i­tively match Wil­liams’ fin­ger­prints with those of the hands found in New­ton County. A search war­rant was is­sued for Wil­liams and Ben­son’s res­i­dences af­ter which Ben­son was ar­rested. Bankhead de­clined to com­ment on what was found in the search to con­nect Ben- son with the mur­der or if the sus­pect is co­op­er­at­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“We don’t talk about those parts of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Bankhead said.

The case is still open, Bankhead said, and on Mon­day, in­ves­ti­ga­tors searched Ben­son’s busi­ness, Ben­son Auto Ser­vice and Re­pair at 4806 Cov­ing­ton High­way in Decatur.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tors for both the GBI and the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice have done a great job with this in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Bankhead said. “They all worked very closely on this case.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan af­ter Wil­liams’ hands, arms, feet and legs were dis­cov­ered be­tween the back of an un­oc­cu­pied house and a small lake in a se­cluded neigh­bor­hood off Ga. High­way 212. NCSO Lt. Bill Wat­ter­son pre­vi­ously said in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieved the mur­derer was familiar with the area and his vic­tim.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are still search­ing for Wil­liams’ head and torso as well as the mur­der weapon. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on ei­ther Wil­liams or Ben­son is asked to call the GBI Tip Line at (800) 597-TIPS (8477) or the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice at (678) 625-1403. Tips may also be given anony­mously at (678) 625-5007 or on their Web site www.new­ton­sh­er­if­fga.org.

BEN­SON

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