CLEARFIELD – An appeal for a former Mahaffey woman serving up to 40 years for the murder of her boyfriend has been denied.
In December of 2018, Kayce Marie Lee, now 33, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for the death of Richard Allen Bennett, 58, in February of 2018 at their Mahaffey home. She was sentenced by Judge Paul Cherry to 20 to 40 years in state prison.
According to a previous report, Lee and Bennett argued about their daughter not being in bed at 1 a.m.
Lee claimed Bennett slapped and punched her before she took a knife from a block in the kitchen and stabbed him. Although dressed in only a long-sleeve shirt and his underwear, he ran from the residence.
She left the home with her daughter and stayed with a relative that night. She later reported him as missing after she reported to police that she was not able to locate him.
When police arrived at the residence, they found the victim lying just 30 feet from their home.
Her story that she left that night and returned to the residence several times indicated she would have driven by him at least three times.
At her sentencing hearing, Lee claimed that Bennett had been assaulting her. Then-District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. noted that there was nothing to substantiate this.
Evidence reportedly seemed to indicate she had been abusing Bennett.
According to the affidavit, Lee had told police that Bennett had assaulted her that night and had in fact hit her so hard that he knocked off her glasses and caused her dentures to fly out of her mouth.
But they were unable to locate any injuries on Lee other than a small scratch on her neck and several small scratches on her hands from carrying firewood.
A witness told police that he had known both Bennett and Lee for five years. About a month before the murder, Bennett arrived at his residence with multiple stab wounds on his arm. Bennett told him Lee stabbed him in the arm and had attempted to stab him in the chest.
Another witness reported that in the summer of 2017 she saw Bennett with injuries inflicted by Lee including a black eye and scratches to his neck and face.
In February of 2019, the case was the subject of a post sentence motion for reconsideration during which her attorney, Heather Bozovich, stated again that Lee was the victim of domestic violence, which led to the stabbing.
Cherry denied that motion.
In an appeal filed with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Bozovich argued that the court had issued an “unreasonable sentence,” which was above the sentencing guidelines without considering Lee’s remorse, her cooperation with authorities and her prior history of abuse.
“Specifically, the sentence imposed against [Lee] is manifestly excessive and an abuse of the sentencing court’s discretion, as the court failed to properly consider all relevant factors.”
“Additionally, the sentencing court erroneously interrupted facts of the case to justify its sentence resulting in a misapplication of the law and a distinctly unreasonable decision,” Bozovich said in her appeal.
In court documents dated Feb. 19, the decision, which denied the appeal, states the request did not identify “where the sentence falls in relation to the sentencing guidelines and what particular provision of the code it violates” or how the sentence violated the norm in this case.