Ashley Benefield’s verdict will be determined during her trial, which will not be held until 2023. She is accused of second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Doug Benefield.
Ashley Benefield’s story of how a ballet dancer got accused of something so heinous as murdering her husband is portrayed in “The Black Swan Murder”.
The story, which was reported by “48 Hours” contributor Jim Axelrod, airs Saturday, June 4 at 10/9c on CBS and streams on Paramount+.
48 Hours: What Was Ashley Benefield’s Verdict?
48 Hours explain the story of a ballet dancer Ashley Benefield, who is accused of murdering his own husband, Doug Benefield. However, she has pled not guilty to second-degree murder and will go on trial this summer.
She is presently out on bail.
Ashley and Dough were married 13 days after their first meeting.
Alice Robb, a contributing writer for @vanityfair, explains the dramatic turn of events that took place after Doug and Ashley Benefield launched their own ballet company in Charleston, South Carolina. https://t.co/M8o1Wws6zQ pic.twitter.com/Ze9TQjag5i
— 48 Hours (@48hours) June 4, 2022
They met during the presidential campaign in August 2016 at a dinner party in Florida. Doug was 54, and Ashley was 24, but age was unimportant.
“He simply immediately thought Ashley was the most gorgeous, the most fantastic girl in the world,” Vanity Fair contributor Alice Robb adds.
She was working at Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Sarasota, Florida at the time they met. He was a South Carolina-based consultant and former Navy pilot who worked with technology businesses and defense contractors.
Emerson, their daughter, was born less than a year after they married. However, the marriage was marred by arguments and reconciliations, as well as a failed business endeavor, a dancing school in Charleston, South Carolina.
The pair ultimately discussed divorce. They began litigating a custody agreement for their daughter on September 27, 2020. The 911 operators for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office got a call from a neighbor.
When the police came, Ashley informed them she shot her husband after a domestic fight.
According to deputies, there is no evidence to corroborate this accusation. As a result, Ashley was charged with murder in the second degree.
Stephanie Murphy, a Sarasota attorney, represented Doug in the couple’s divorce. She told ABC7 that she was skeptical of Ashley’s assertions. “What better method to get rid of someone than to murder them and then claim self-defense?” Murphy said.
Ashley Benefield, A Ballet Dancer Accused Of Husband Doug Benefield’s Murder
Ashley Benefield, a former dancer and swimsuit model who established a revolutionary ballet company is now being dubbed a murderer. She is charged with the murder of her husband, Doug Benefield, in Florida.
Stephanie Murphy, Doug’s family attorney, describes Ashley as “this innocent, pristine White Swan” to Doug. “But underneath those white feathers… she’s a wicked lady. She’s known as the Black Swan.”
According to a statement from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Doug was shot to death on September 27, 2020.
He has gone to the Florida house of his estranged wife, Benefield, during a “custody struggle” over the couple’s small daughter.
Ashley said she shot Doug in self-defense after a violent “domestic quarrel.” But authorities and Doug’s family have questioned her narrative, claiming it did not match the evidence found at the scene.
“Detectives discovered no indication that she was acting in self-defense when she fired numerous bullets at her husband,” according to the sheriff’s office. And “found no signs that she had been physically mistreated.”
“During this investigation, it was discovered that Ashley has made multiple complaints against Douglas from the time she discovered she was pregnant.”
But, “While investigating the outcomes of the various instances, it was discovered that they never resulted in criminal charges and were thus closed as unsubstantiated.”
According to the affidavit, investigators decided that “the major aim of these accusations appears to have been to keep the kid away from Douglas.”
The affidavit stated, “At this time, it appeared that Ashley had tried all legal efforts to keep the kid away from Douglas prior to the shooting.”
Where Is Ashley Benefield Now?
Ashley Benefield is currently released on bond after spending nearly two weeks in jail.
Ashley was caught and charged with second-degree murder five weeks after the killing but she entered a not guilty plea.
It’s unclear if Ashley truly feared for her life or whether she’s a scheming “black swan” right out of a Hollywood thriller. Her trial is not scheduled to begin until 2023.
Investigators discovered that Doug had been shot twice while facing Ashley. He was shot twice in the leg and once in the arm, with one bullet entering his chest cavity.
She caused two of the children to lose their father at a young age. Eva, her stepdaughter, had already gone through a lot. Eva had returned home from school nine months previously to find her mother Renee’s body. She died of an undetected cardiac condition.
“If I could only ask Ashley one question, it would be, why would you take away your own child’s father when you grew up without one?” And why would you take another child’s father when you know she never had a mother to begin with?” Benefield stated.