Judge Resets Sentencing for Attempted Murder Defendant


Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall has reset the sentencing hearing for an attempted murder defendant with a fuzzy memory to give his attorneys more time to draft a stipulation agreement. It will detail the facts as defendant Benton Christopher Howard, 42, remembers them as to what happened at a home in the Parkview Heights area of Knox last Nov. 30. Howard is accused of critically stabbing Brandon Davidson, damaging his heart and collapsing his lung. He is set to plead guilty to a lesser battery offense.

Howard previously told the judge he acted in self defense after Davidson kicked him in the head several times. Self defense is not a crime, so the judge was not able to accept a plea, which is an admission of guilt, for a crime which was not actually committed.

Judge Hall told Howard and his attorneys he’s not likely to accept a plea without a “pretty substantive” stipulation of evidence. Howard was originally set for sentencing on Thursday, July 16th. That’s been moved back to Tuesday, July 21st to give the parties more time to draft an agreement.

Davidson was in court for yesterday’s proceeding per Judge Hall’s orders. He told the judge his family isn’t too happy with Howard’s proposed punishment of two years in prison, two on home detention and two on probation. As for his own opinion, Davidson told the judge, “I’m at a loss, really. I don’t know what to think about it.” Had Howard been convicted of attempted murder he was looking at 20 to 40 years in prison. Judge Hall ordered Davidson to be brought to court from the Starke County Jail for Howard’s sentencing hearing as well.