District attorney Herbert “Buzz” Franklin said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty against 59-year-old James Benson of Chattanooga.
A Walker County grand jury indicted Benson Tuesday on two counts of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and four counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The district attorney said he has talked with family members about seeking the death penalty. The case would have to meet “aggravating circumstances” to pursue the death sentence, Franklin explained, adding that he would release which of those qualifiers were met if it becomes a capital case.
Benson is accused of killing 56-year-old Mary Sue Benson, his estranged wife, and her 77-year-old mother, Charlotte Johnson, on Jan. 6 in the ICU waiting room at Erlanger at Hutcheson hospital.
Police say he used a .38 caliber handgun, which he retrieved from his vehicle outside the hospital.
After the shooting, he turned himself in at the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department.