Lake Alfred woman Barbara Scott accused of killing husband, burying him in back yard

Originally thought to be suicide case

LAKE ALFRED, Fla. - Lake Alfred's first murder in 24 years is one that has detectives amazed.

On March 26, Sonya Braudway brought her mother, Barbara Scott, to the Lake Alfred Police Department after months of hearing inconsistent stories about her mother's 78-year-old husband's whereabouts.

Barbara, police say, admitted she found Benny in the shower with a gunshot wound to the head after an apparent suicide in January.

She got scared and buried him behind their Lake Alfred home, keeping it a secret because she was embarrassed of what family members might think.

The next day, investigators dug up his body two feet beneath the couple's herb garden, buried under rosemary and parsley. The herb garden was a project the couple worked on for months. Benny watched while Barbara dug what would later become his grave. He was wrapped tightly in a tarp, duct taped, with a bag around his head.

Detectives found the gunshot wound as expected.

However, now medical evidence confirms Benny's wound came from the back of his head with a bullet path toward the front, inconsistent with a suicide. Tuesday evening, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced Benny's death was ruled a homicide, his wife now charged with his murder.

He called it one of the most odd cases he's ever seen, not simply because of a husband buried beneath his own herb garden, but because of the weapon used.

"She's got this .22 caliber gun in a Crown Royal bag in the underwear drawer," Sheriff Judd described.

The same gun and Crown Royal bag, Judd says, that went missing from Benny's daughter's house in Oklahoma, where the couple stayed just weeks before his death.

"It is an overwhelming case," he told reporters.

Barbara testified before a grand jury Tuesday morning, and was arrested soon at the courthouse.

Benny suffered from congestive heart failure, and was dependent on a pacemaker as well as Barbara's care.

"We suspect she just got tired of him," Sheriff Judd said. "There was only one thing to do and that was to get him out of the way."

Barbara's attorney, Rafael Echemendia, says she still claims she is innocent. They plan to file a request to have their own experts examine Benny's gunshot wound.

Barbara will face a judge for the first time Wednesday.

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