Man accused of killing wife in restaurant parking lot returning to Lowcountry

Map showing where Benton was captured.
Map showing where Benton was captured.

By Harve Jacobs  bio | email | Twitter

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - The man accused of shooting his wife in cold blood outside a Summerville restaurant returned to the Lowcountry Thursday, police officials said.

Capt. Jon Rogers of the Summerville Police Department said Randal William Benton was transported from Alabama and attended a bond hearing at 5:30 p.m. Benton was being charged with the murder of Treva Benton.

He was denied bond, as is customary when suspects are charged with murder.

After allegedly shooting his wife, Benton fled and made his way just across the George-Alabama border to the small town of Phenix City. Police say he left behind a scene of terrified restaurant employees and patrons.

The 911 calls released Monday afternoon shed light on the chaotic situation.

"This girl is dead! She's dead. Oh my god, she's dead," one witness said to dispatchers.

In the background, other people in the restaurant could be heard screaming and crying as the caller relayed information about the shooter and the incident.

"She's not moving," he said.

Police believe Randal William Benton, 47, shot and killed his estranged wife Treva Benton outside the Perkins Restaurant on Trolley Road. Benton was captured several hours away in Phenix City, Ala., Sunday morning by authorities there.

A woman witnessed the shooting described what she saw. "He started shooting her. He fired about seven to nine shots at her close range," said the witness who asked not to be identified. "He pointed the gun at me and told me to get back inside, so I didn't argue with him."

Treva Benton's neighbors said Randal showed up at her house a few hours before the murder. "He was looking for her and she wasn't here, and when he left out of here he sped off, he was pretty mad," said Scott Herbert.

"Very shocked, and I couldn't believe Randy would do that to her, didn't believe it," said Michelle Herbert.

[Listen to the 911 call.]

According to the police report, employees of the restaurant watched a dark-colored SUV pull into the parking lot. One employee told police she could see two people arguing inside the vehicle. The employee and the restaurant's manager approached the vehicle and saw Mr. Benton pull out a handgun and shoot Mrs. Benton, the report states.

The witnesses said they watched as Mrs. Benton tried to flee the vehicle and crawl to safety while a man continued shooting her. The employee told police she thought there were as many as eight shots fired.

The man then turned the gun on the employee and the manager, saying, "You better get inside now." Benton fled the scene.

Police had asked for the public's help locating Benton early Sunday morning. He was found and arrested in Alabama. Police are now trying to determine whether the couple were legally separated, but they do know the two were not living together.

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