FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The man who dodged a murder charge last year when a witness was killed will now be imprisoned for firing at a Fort Wayne police officer, an Allen County jury decided.
An Allen Superior Court jury of nine women and three men deliberated for less than three hours Thursday before it found Charles A. Benson guilty of attempted murder, resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness for shooting at Fort Wayne Police officer Robert Geiger on Jan. 30.
It was late January, midday, when Geiger made a traffic stop of a vehicle along Lewis Street. During the stop, the passenger of the vehicle – later identified as Benson – reportedly jumped out and ran off.
As Geiger gave chase, Benson turned and fired shots toward him. Geiger then returned fire.
Neither men were struck, but Benson was eventually taken into custody in an alley near Francis Street.
Several police officers responded and police crime scene tape stretched for three blocks. Investigators found shell casings throughout the area.
Benson developed a name for himself when he beat a murder charge related to the fatal shooting of John D. Holman on Eby Avenue in 2014. Benson was set to stand trial for the charge but a key witness in the case was killed by a train, a development that forced Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards to drop the charge and free Benson.
Benson had previously served three years for battery and escape convictions, and six years for drug possession, possession of a handgun without a license and battery.
As a result of those charges, the jury also found Benson guilty of being a habitual offender on Thursday. That modifier will enhance any sentence imposed by a judge, possibly up to 20 years. Benson be sentenced to a maximum 78.5 years. His sentencing is July 1.