SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (AP/WCSC) - A man accused of gunning down his estranged wife in a Summerville restaurant parking lot will stand trial this week after a judge rejected his plea deal.
The deal offered to 48-year-old Randal William Benton was tossed Friday after he didn't admit the facts would likely prove his guilt.
Benton is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Treva Dawn Benton in October 2010.
Randal Benton was offered an Alford plea that would have brought him a 40-year sentence with no chance of parole. The plea doesn't require a defendant to admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge.
Benton said he didn't know if he agreed with the facts the solicitor presented Friday.
After allegedly shooting his wife, Benton fled and made his way across the George-Alabama border to the small town of Phenix City. He was found and arrested in Alabama.
A woman witnessed the shooting described what she saw.
"He started shooting her. He fired about seven to nine shots at her close range," the witness said. "He pointed the gun at me and told me to get back inside, so I didn't argue with him."