Machete Attack Victim Speaks From His Hospital Bed - WSPA.com

Machete Attack Victim Speaks From His Hospital Bed

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By From Our Coverage Partners At The Hendersonville Times News

FLETCHER — A man said he was brutally attacked at his home Wednesday night and robbed by his grandson, who was wielding a machete.

Edward Benson, 75, was taken to Park Ridge Hospital after surviving several severe cuts to the head, arms and hands.

James Alan Benson, 26, is accused of taking $200,000 in cash that was stashed in an underground vault in his grandfather’s Fletcher home and leaving the elder Benson to die.

Warrants for the arrest of James Benson have been issued on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and attempted first-degree murder.

The FBI has launched a nationwide search for the suspect, warning that he may be trying to flee the country. Edward Benson said his grandson recently married a woman from China, but was having problems helping her get to the U.S. and needed money to pay an attorney.

No history of violence

Edward Benson’s wife of 54 years, Dorothy, was with her husband at Park Ridge Hospital on Friday afternoon.

She recalled the scene of the crime.

“It looked like someone killed a pig,” she said.

“Like a butcher shop,” Edward Benson added.

Edward said he had a good relationship with his grandson and they didn’t have a history of violence.

“I’ve done so much for him,” Benson said. “And then he does this to me.”

There were too many stitches and staples in Benson’s scalp for him to count. Almost his entire face was bruised from the fight and his hands were wrapped in bandages.

Despite the wounds, he was in good spirits Friday.

“I told the lady down the hall that I was going to a beauty contest,” he laughed.

But his optimistic outlook cannot hide the vicious attack that began about 9 p.m. Edward Benson was in his carport grinding wheat for homemade bread, then went into his house located on Humphrey Drive in Fletcher.

Shortly after that, someone entered through the front door wearing a ski mask. But Edward Benson immediately recognized who was behind the mask by the way he walked.

“I said ‘Hi James,’” Benson said. “That really threw him out of joint.”

Edward said James Benson, without hesitation, ran up to him and forced the machete to his neck.

“I’m going to cut your damn head off!” Edward recalled his grandson saying.

Edward said he tried to push the blade away from his throat but that James ripped it away, cutting the grandfather’s hand to the bone.

At that point Edward Benson thought, “He is going to try to kill me.”

His grandson proceeded to cut and slash at his grandfather’s head and arms, Edward said.

Edward was then thrown to the floor and he managed to kick his grandson in the crotch.

“That’s when he got really mad,” Edward said.

According to Edward, James Benson grabbed his grandfather by the pants and dragged him into the dining room. Edward tried to find cover under the dining room table.

“He was jerking and fighting and I was fighting back,” Edward said.

The struggle ensued for another hour until James started ordering him to open the safe, according to Edward.

The safe was hidden in the ground under a rug in the dining room. Edward said only a handful of people knew where the cache was located.

“It was then I knew what he wanted,” Edward said. “If I opened it he would probably kill me to keep me quiet while he did his disappearing act.”

But when Edward started to spin the combination dial, blood was pouring into his eyes and he couldn’t see the numbers.

James gave his grandfather a towel to soak up the blood.

“And all the time I was wondering what he will do when he gets the money,” Edward said.

Edward had a handgun in the bathroom and he knew he had to get to the firearm to survive.

“I told him I needed to get my glasses so he followed me to the bathroom,” Edward said.

After entering the bathroom, he slammed the door shut, locking his grandson out. But before Edward could chamber a round into the gun, James kicked down the door.

“He’s extremely strong,” Edward said.

James wrestled the gun from Edward and kicked it under the bed, out of reach. James continued to bring the machete down, Edward said.

“He was just cutting the heck out of me,” Edward said.

Blood was spurting out of his head and he was getting weaker as the battle continued and finally Edward couldn’t fight back anymore.

Edward said James dragged his limp body back to the safe and forced him to open it. The door opened, revealing the money the attacker came for.

James grabbed two pillow cases and stuffed it full with stacks of $100 bills, Edward said. After the attacker was satisfied with the loot, Edward said his hands and feet were tied to the bed.

“I told him I was going to bleed to death,” Edward said.

James went to the kitchen and retrieved cayenne pepper, pouring it into the wounds to stop the bleeding. He then left, with his grandfather lying bloody and weak.

Edward was able to free himself and call for help.

A wife in China

Edward believes the motive was money. James had asked Dorothy for $5,000 a couple of weeks ago, but was turned down.

Earlier this year, Edward said his grandson met his wife in China after being set up by a friend who owns a Chinese restaurant in Hendersonville. James flew to China, where he fell in love with the girl. They married about seven months ago.

According to Edward, James was having trouble getting the money so his new wife could get into the States. Recently, James’ father — Edward’s son — contacted Edward and warned him that James may try to swindle him.

James’ father said his son had already started taking things from him. But Edward said his grandchild was never violent. “He was a model child,” Edward said. “He was my favorite grandchild.

“I had money,” he added. “Money will get you in trouble. It is the root of all evil.” He continued, “I had that much with me because I always thought if someone was going to try to take it, I could outsmart them or beat the hell out of them.”

Edward was set to leave Park Ridge Hospital to return home Friday afternoon.
James Benson is still on the loose and may be driving a blue/gray 1989 Volkswagen Jetta with North Carolina tags TWC-5372.
If you have any information about James Benson or his whereabouts, call (828) 697-STOP.

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