Kayce Lee

KAYCE LEE

Submitted photo

CLEARFIELD — Kayce Marie Lee, 31, of Mahaffey is now facing a murder in the first degree charge after Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. amended the charges against her yesterday.

Lee is accused of stabbing Richard Allen Bennett, 57, on Feb. 4 outside of their residence at 10882 Ridge Road, Mahaffey, Bell Township.

Lee had been charged with criminal homicide, but that charge was amended to murder in the first degree. She is also charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment.

Lee waived her right to a preliminary hearing yesterday at Centralized Court before Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling. She is being held in the Clearfield County Jail without bail.

She was represented yesterday by Chris Pentz of the public defender office.

Lee allegedly stabbed Bennett during an argument at their home at 1 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4. According to the affidavit of probable cause, Bennett fled the scene after being stabbed. He was found approximately 24 hours later, lying 30 feet from the home.

Lee admitted to Punxsutawney-based state police that she had stabbed Bennett during a domestic dispute. Lee said that on Saturday, Feb. 3, she and Lee and their daughter returned between 8 and 9 p.m. from doing shopping in Clearfield. She said they sat around the kitchen drinking “and having a good time” until Lee fell asleep in a chair in the living room.

Lee said Bennett woke up between 12:30 and 1 a.m. and “was a totally different person” and could tell by the look in his eyes that Bennett was agitated. Lee told police he began arguing with her because their daughter was not in bed yet and tried pulling the child away from Lee. She told police she resisted, which led to Bennett allegedly slapping her in the head and they began yelling obscenities at each other.

The couple then went into the kitchen where Lee told the victim she was going to call for help and she was leaving. This angered the victim again, and Lee said he slapped her in the head. She was unable to find her phone and said Bennett proceeded to block the front door so she could not leave. He then allegedly pushed Lee backward and punched her again in the face.

Lee said she retrieved a knife from the block on the counter and intended to scare him so he would let her leave the house. He continued to block the door and then hit her across the face, causing her glasses to fly off her face and her dentures to fly out of her mouth.

Lee said she then made stabbing motions with the knife, and said she wasn’t sure where she stabbed the victim, but by the time she retrieved her glasses and dentures, Bennett had left the residence.

Lee said she looked out the door and yelled for the victim, but he didn’t answer and she didn’t see him anywhere around. She feared Bennett would return with a gun or other weapon, so Lee took her daughter and went to her grandmother’s home where she dropped off her daughter, returned to the home, looked both inside and outside for Bennett. Not finding him, Lee returned to her grandmother’s where she spent the night.

On Sunday morning, she awoke and began calling around to family members to see if anyone had seen Bennett. With no success, Lee returned to the residence around 6 p.m. on Sunday and was still unable to locate Bennett. She stayed there to clean up the victim’s blood on the floor before returning to her grandmother’s home and calling family, the hospital, and 911, asking for help in locating Bennett.

Police confronted Lee with the fact that Bennett had only walked about 30 feet from the residence before collapsing and dying. Lee said she never saw Bennett lying between the swing set and driveway, even though she would have driven Past the body on at least three occasions.

When police confronted her with the fact that Bennett was struck directly in the chest, Lee conceded that she had stabbed Bennett “a little harder than she had originally alluded to.”

Lee was examined for any visible injuries by police, and none were found.

Police also interviewed Larry D. and Janet M. Spaid of Mahaffey, who told police that there had been previous injuries to Bennett, who told them Lee caused them. They told police that they had observed stab marks on Bennett’s arms and chest area, scratches to his face and neck and also a black eye. Janet Spaid told police that Lee had called their home on Sunday evening indicating that she and Bennett had been in an “altercation” and she was scared because she could not find him.

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