How a Homemade Knife Ended the Life of a Double Murderer: Steven Benson’s Cause of Death

Steven Benson was a notorious double murderer who killed his mother and brother in 1985 with a pipe bomb. He was serving two life sentences in a Florida prison when he met his own violent end in 2015. What was Steven Benson’s cause of death? How did he become a victim of a premeditated murder by another inmate? This article will explore the details of his crime, his trial, his prison life, and his fatal stabbing.

The Pipe Bomb Plot

Steven Benson was born in 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of Margaret Benson, a tobacco heiress who inherited the Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Co., and Edward Benson, a businessman who died in 1975. Steven had two siblings: Scott, who was actually his nephew but later adopted by Margaret, and Carol Lynn, who was a former Miss Florida runner-up.

Steven lived a lavish lifestyle, thanks to his mother’s wealth. He owned several properties, cars, boats, and businesses. He also had a history of drug abuse, gambling debts, and marital problems. He was married twice and had three children.

In 1985, Margaret decided to revise her will and cut off Steven’s inheritance. She suspected that he was stealing money from her and mismanaging her businesses. She also planned to move to Tennessee with Scott and Carol Lynn, leaving Steven behind in Florida.

Steven was furious and desperate. He devised a plan to kill his mother and brother with a pipe bomb and inherit their fortune. On July 9, 1985, he placed a pipe bomb in the family car, in which Margaret, Scott, and Carol Lynn were waiting for him to join them. The bomb exploded, killing Margaret and Scott instantly and severely injuring Carol Lynn.

The Trial and Conviction

Steven Benson was arrested on August 22, 1985, after an extensive investigation by the police and the FBI. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of arson. He pleaded not guilty and claimed that he was also a victim of the explosion.

His trial began on February 24, 1986, in Collier County, Florida. The prosecution presented evidence that linked Steven to the purchase of the bomb materials, the wiring of the bomb, and the detonation of the bomb. They also showed that Steven had a motive to kill his mother and brother for financial gain.

The defense argued that Steven was innocent and that the bomb was planted by someone else who wanted to harm the family. They suggested that Scott was involved in drug trafficking and that Margaret had enemies in the tobacco industry. They also questioned the reliability of the forensic evidence and the witnesses.

The jury deliberated for seven hours before reaching a verdict on March 17, 1986. They found Steven Benson guilty on all charges. He avoided the death penalty and was sentenced to two life terms in prison without parole.

The Prison Life and Death

Steven Benson spent almost 30 years in prison for his crimes. He was transferred to various prisons because of constant threats and abuse from other inmates. He also filed several appeals and motions to overturn his conviction, but they were all denied.

In June 2015, he was moved to Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry, Florida. There he encountered Cordell Washington, another inmate who had a long-running feud with him. Their conflict dated back to at least 2012, when Washington assaulted Benson several times at another prison.

According to other inmates, Washington planned to extort $1,000 from Benson within days of arriving at Taylor Correctional Institution. When Benson refused to pay, Washington and another inmate named Marvin Taylor ambushed him and stabbed him with a homemade knife on July 3, 2015.

Benson suffered a stab wound to the right side of his head that penetrated two inches into his brain. He told the guards that he did not know who attacked him, but he recognized one of them as an old enemy from Hardee County jail.

He was taken to a hospital in Tallahassee, where he died on July 10, 2015. His autopsy revealed that his cause of death was homicide by stabbing.

Washington and Taylor were charged with first-degree murder for killing Benson in January 2016. Washington was acquitted by a jury in October 2017. Taylor’s case is still pending.


Steven Benson’s cause of death was a result of his own violent actions that led him to prison. He killed his mother and brother with a pipe bomb in 1985 for money and greed. He died from a stab wound by another inmate in 2015 for refusing to pay extortion money.

His death marked the end of a tragic saga that shocked Southwest Florida and gained national attention. His surviving sister Carol Lynn Kendall said that she forgave him for his crimes and prayed for his soul. She also said that she hoped that his death would bring closure and peace to everyone involved.

Doms Desk

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