A Prince George's County man convicted of murdering his 17-year-old son was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison. He could become eligible for parole in 1983.
The man, Lee Bennett, 62, shot to death his son, John, last April. According to family members, the father had stopped communicating with his son four years before after the yough refused to get a crewcut. The two continued to live in the same house, according to relatives, and finally exchanged words shortly before Bennett fired and fatal shot.
Circuit Court Judge Jacob Levin called it "the most tragic case in my three years on the bench" when he convicted Bennett earlier this year of second degree murder, use of a hand-gun and threatening a witness. He repeated that thought yesterday.
At the sentencing, Bennett's lawyer blamed his client's alcoholism, said he was remorseful and, citing the man's health and age, asked for probation. Bennett, addressing the judge, made no reference to his son or family, denied that he had threatened a witness and requested a chance to return to society where he could seek psychiatric help.
Present at the sentencing were Bennett's two daughters and wife, Leona, who said later, "I think his sentence is about right.
"I guess I will go visit him," she said. "A lot of people can't understand it, but I can't hate my husband no matter what. I know he's done wrong but he's still a human being. You can't be married for 29 years and not have feelings."