Benjamin Bonner in May 2017. (Keith Thorpe | Peninsula Daily News)

Benjamin Bonner in May 2017. (Keith Thorpe | Peninsula Daily News)

Bainbridge Island man set to be sentenced in killing of Sequim woman

  • Tuesday, April 9, 2019 9:23am
  • News

PORT ANGELES — Benjamin G. Bonner is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday for the death of Cynthia Little of Sequim.

Bonner, 20, of Bainbridge Island will likely be committed to Western State Hospital after the parties enter a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, attorney John Hayden said Monday.

Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Michele Devlin confirmed that a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity would be entered.

Bonner is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree animal cruelty and first-degree robbery for allegedly beating Little to death with a fireplace poker, killing her dog and taking her vehicle in May 2017.

Little was described in court papers as a family friend and grandmother figure to Bonner. She was 71.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Bonner beat Little with the metal instrument as Little repeatedly told him “I love you.”

A four-hour sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today in Clallam County Superior Court.

“It’s going to be pretty emotional,” Hayden said.

“This was a completely preventable incident, and the system failed.”

Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Knutson said Bonner’s anti-psychotic medication was adjusted April 30, 2017, when he was prescribed pain medication for a dental procedure.

“Since the medication adjustment, Benjamin was having mental episodes, hearing voices and suffering hallucinations,” Knutson wrote in the affidavit for probable cause.

The killing occurred one day after Bonner was released from a mental health treatment facility for threatening his mother and harming a cat, investigators said.

Bonner, who was adopted from Russia as an infant, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in January 2018.

State psychiatrist Barry Ward of the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services concluded in a November report that Bonner had paranoid schizophrenia, marijuana use disorder and was “acutely psychotic” at the time of Little’s killing.

Hayden said his client would likely be referred to the state Department of Social and Health Services, which operates the 800-bed Western State Hospital in Lakewood, for indeterminate custody.

“He goes to Western State and stays there until they find that he shoudn’t be there,” Hayden said.

The court will determine whether Bonner goes to prison, and for how long, if he is released from Western State, Hayden said.

“You come up periodically for review,” he said.

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Affordable housing advocates ask Housing Kitsap to forgo sale of 550 Madison Apartments to private developer

Advocates for affordable housing on Bainbridge Island have started a letter-writing campaign… Continue reading

Bainbridge blotter | Failure to yield 2.0

Selected reports from the Bainbridge Island Police Department blotter. SATURDAY, MAY 25… Continue reading

Libes named to dean’s list at Tufts

Tyco Libes was named to the dean’s list at Tufts University for… Continue reading

Island teens on team set to compete in Texas-based Solar Car Challenge

The Pacific Northwest may not seem the most likely place for advances… Continue reading

UPDATE | Bainbridge Island City Hall employees hit panic alarm twice in one week

Bainbridge Island police were called to city hall twice last week after… Continue reading

Bainbridge teen, Poulsbo woman injured in Highway 305 crash

A Bainbridge Island teen and a Poulsbo woman were injured in a… Continue reading

Opposition to hotel continues as project heads to planning commission

Opponents of a new hotel in downtown Winslow have three suggestions. Build… Continue reading

St. Cecilia sails to Seattle Aquarium field trip

Saint Cecilia Catholic School students in kindergarten through eighth grade, as well… Continue reading

Farewell party planned for BHS 100 Building

The Bainbridge community is invited to walk the halls of the Bainbridge… Continue reading

Most Read