LONDON, Ky. — A London man is charged with two counts of murder after his parents were found dead in their home on Tomcat Trail about 5 miles east of London Tuesday afternoon.
Joseph L. Benge, 40, of London, was charged with the two counts of murder, one count of robbery and one count of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000 – auto on Wednesday morning after he was taken into custody by Kentucky State Police in Mayfield, Kentucky, late Tuesday night.
The two victims were identified as Johnny Benge, age 69, and his wife Mary Benge, age 66.
Johnny and Mary Benge were found dead by another one of their children at 4:56 p.m. Tuesday. He called emergency personnel.
Laurel County Sheriff's Office responded to the residence where Johnny and Mary Benge were found in the living room of the house. The Sheriff's Office reported it appeared they had died from multiple gunshot wounds and both were pronounced dead at the scene by the Laurel County Coroner's Office. An autopsy was scheduled to take place at the State Medical Examiner's Office on Wednesday, but results of that autopsy have not yet been released.
Laurel County Sheriff's Office said Joseph Benge left the scene after the shooting and prior to the arrival of the other family member. He drove off in the family's white 2015 Ford Taurus.
Laurel County Sheriff's officials immediately filed a stolen vehicle report to alert other agencies to be on the lookout for the suspect vehicle. The Sheriff's Office also alerted the media and the public through social media that Joseph Benge was a suspect in a double homicide and that he was considered armed and dangerous.
Laurel County Sheriff’s investigators also were able to ping the suspect’s cell phone determining that the suspect was in the Mayfield, Kentucky, area, which is about 4 hours and 40 minutes west of London. Laurel Sheriff’s investigators notified police agencies in the Mayfield area to be on the lookout for the suspect and his vehicle.
The Kentucky State Police in Mayfield located the suspect vehicle late on Tuesday night and conducted a traffic stop taking him into custody without incident. A weapon was found in the vehicle during the arrest.
Laurel County Sheriff's Detectives Taylor McDaniel and Detective James Sizemore traveled to Mayfield to pick up Joseph Benge and he was booked in the Laurel County Corrections Center at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday. He is being held on a $50,000 cash bond with a court appearance set for 9:30 a.m. Friday.
The vehicle was also returned to London Wednesday afternoon where Laurel County investigators searched the vehicle and found a handgun in the passenger compartment. Investigators also found throughout the vehicle two shotguns, a .22 caliber rifle, a handgun, and body armor.
Laurel County Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigation under lead investigator Taylor McDaniel.