We also highlighted Facebook posts that Benton shared shortly before her death. They alluded to a physical fight, with one reading, "That a-hole tried to break my neck."
Now, a 7News investigation reveals that police were called to the scene prior to the murder-suicide but spent less than thirty minutes investigating the fight and didn't arrest anyone.
Moreover, the station reports that a terse, seven-word summary about this call was initially omitted from material the Littleton Police Department provided about Benton's death, suggesting some energetic spin control to deflect attention from the possibility that she'd still be alive if the cops had taken Fallon into custody.
As we've reported, Benton was killed at around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, on the 550 block of South Grant Street.
Word of shots fired prompted a brief lockdown at Littleton High School, which is located nearby.
Upon their arrival, LPD officers discovered a man, Fallon, dead by his own hand, and a woman, Benton, suffering a gunshot wound to the head. She later died of the wound.
Benton's Facebook posts in the hours before Fallon killed her, on a page festooned with images of her with her children, made it clear something had gone terribly wrong.
At 3:51 a.m. on the 6th, she posted, "I need a ride to the hospital after i get off from work. Can someone please help me out?"
She elaborated at 5:30 a.m., writing, "That a-hole tried to break my neck! On my way to the er."
A 9:13 a.m. followup reads, "Now I need to find out how I'm going to get money so I can eat today and get my prescription." Fifty minutes later, she added, "I'm so hungry."
Her final post, at 1:02 p.m., only ninety minutes or so before the shooting, finds her waiting for her son, Tyler Jewkes, at a Taco Bell.
The note ends with this heartbreaking statement: "Can't take the pain anymore!!!!!!"
Afterward, Jewkes, eighteen, wrote the following testimonial:
"You were the greatest mom anybody could ask for. I love you and you will always be in my heart.. I know it wasn't your time to go but the best always go first. I don't know what I'll do without you, but everything i do will be in your name. I'll miss you."Adding to Jewkes's pain was uncertainty about the future. In a followup post, we noted that Benton's death had left him and his brother Jonathan without a home — a situation that led to the launch of a GoFundMe page that remains online.
At this writing, it's raised a little over $3,000 toward a goal of $30,000.
More recently, Jewkes shared details with 7News about his decision to dial 911 after 2 a.m. on the 6th, around twelve hours before Benton was killed.
He told the dispatcher about a physical fight between Benton and Fallon, noting that she was "screaming about her neck" and adding that he thought it was possible Fallon had a gun.
Nevertheless, Jewkes says the officers who responded to the scene did what struck him as a cursory investigation, chatting with Fallon, who was on his best behavior, and declining to call an ambulance for Benton because they didn't see visible wounds.
According to 7News, "the report filed by the responding officer that morning says simply: 'Allegations of physical contact but no evidence.'" But the station maintains that the LPD didn't provide this sentence following a request in March for all material pertaining to police calls at the home; instead, it offered a more detailed description of the call, including a response attributed to Benton: "She didn't believe there would be any more issues and that she would be leaving for work in a little bit."
The aforementioned sentence didn't reach 7News until earlier this week, in response to a second request for reports from the Littleton department submitted in April. Moreover, the time stamp on the line was 3:43 p.m. on January 6, more than an hour after Benton had been murdered.
Was this an effort on the part of the Littleton department to deflect attention from its earlier visit to the home and how little action was taken? Littleton Police Chief Doug Stephens declined a 7News interview request — but police radio chatter from the day of the shooting shows an awareness of the bad publicity that could be generated should the news get out.
A dispatcher talking with a police official after the shooting is quoted as saying, "Can I tell you something?.... We were out on a disturbance there at 2 in the morning...and that was a party with a gun."
Another exchange involved an official who asked, "Are we getting press requests on this?"
"Yes," the dispatcher replied, to which the official said, "We are? Shit!"
For more information about the fundraising campaign for Benton's sons, click here. In the meantime, here's the outstanding 7News report.