BELL TOWNSHIP – More details have been released about a deadly domestic disturbance that occurred during the early-morning hours Sunday in Bell Township.
Kayce Marie Lee, 31, of Mahaffey is facing charges of criminal homicide, F1; aggravated assault, F2; simple assault, M2; and harassment, S.
Lee allegedly stabbed a 57-year-old Mahaffey man, Richard A. Bennett, in the chest with a steak knife at their Ridge Road residence. Lee and Bennett have a daughter together.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, at approximately 7:40 p.m. Sunday, Punxsutawney-based state police were called about an attempt to locate Bennett.
He had last been seen at approximately 1 a.m. when he fled following a domestic altercation with Lee. It was believed Lee might have stabbed Bennett just prior to him fleeing on foot.
At approximately 11:43 p.m., troopers located Bennett deceased in the lawn approximately 30 feet from the couple’s residence. He was identified by troopers who had a provided photo.
When state police interviewed Lee, she admitted to stabbing Bennett. She also gave her story about what led up to the couple’s domestic altercation.
On Saturday afternoon, she said she, Bennett and their daughter went shopping in the Clearfield area. They returned home between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
They were sitting around, listening to records, drinking and “having a good time.” She only had “a few shots” from a bottle of “Fireball” whiskey, Lee told state police.
According to her, Bennett drank the rest of the bottle and eventually passed out in a living room chair. When he got up around 12:30 a.m., “he was a totally different person.”
She said she could tell “by the look in his eyes” that he was “very agitated.” She also said he started arguing with her because their daughter wasn’t in bed yet.
Lee proceeded to take their daughter up to her bedroom. After a short time, the room became “smoky” and very hot from the couple’s use of a coal stove heater due to a frozen gas line.
When she and their daughter went back downstairs, Bennett started yelling again that the girl should be in bed. She was holding their daughter when Bennett tried to pull her away.
Lee said Bennett told her the girl was his daughter, too, and she was going to bed. When she resisted him taking the girl, she claimed that Bennett slapped her in the head and afterward they began exchanging obscenities.
She went to the kitchen area and told Bennett that she was going to call for help and leave. She said this angered Bennett and he slapped her in the head again.
However, she was unable to find her phone and Bennett was reportedly blocking the front door to prevent her from leaving the residence.
Lee said after he pushed her backwards and punched her, she proceeded to retrieve a knife from the kitchen counter with the intent to scare him so he’d let her leave.
While he was still blocking the door, she said Bennett smacked her. She added that this time it knocked her glasses off her face and caused her dentures to fly out of her mouth.
She admitted to making a stabbing motion with the knife. She wasn’t sure where she’d stabbed Bennett because by the time she’d retrieved her glasses and dentures, he’d fled the residence.
When she looked out the door and yelled for Bennett, he didn’t answer her. She also didn’t see him anywhere in the immediate area.
She said she feared he would return with “a gun or something,” so she and their daughter went to her grandmother’s residence.
After dropping her daughter off, Lee went back to their residence. She searched both inside and outside but was unable to locate Bennett.
She went back to her grandmother’s and slept there. When she woke up, she began calling Bennett’s relatives to see if anyone had any contact with him.
She wasn’t able to determine Bennett’s whereabouts and went back to their residence to see if he’d shown up there at approximately 6 p.m. Sunday. She still wasn’t able to find him.
She proceeded to clean up the small areas of Bennett’s blood on the kitchen floor. She made more calls to relatives and to the hospital. She ultimately called 911 for help finding him, she told state police.
When state police pointed out Bennett was found just a short distance away from their residence, Lee maintained that she never saw him lying on the lawn between the swing set and the driveway.
She would have driven right by Bennett’s body on at least three occasions, state police said in the affidavit. Lee conceded to the fact that she stabbed him harder than she had initially alluded to.
State police examined Lee for injuries. She only had a small scratch on her neck, which didn’t appear to be related to any type of assault. There also weren’t any injuries on Lee’s face and head.
As part of the investigation, state police interviewed a male. He said about a month prior, Bennett came to his residence with multiple stab wounds to his arm and covered in blood. He said at the time, Bennett told him Lee had also attempted to stab him in his chest area.
A female said she’d observed past injuries to Bennett, which he told her were caused by Lee. Over the summer, she’d observed several scratches to his neck and face and a black eye.
On Sunday evening, the female said she received several calls from Lee, who was afraid because the couple had been in an “altercation” and she couldn’t find Bennett.
Lee has been incarcerated at the Clearfield County Jail. Her preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 14 during centralized court at the jail.