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Benefield Sentenced To 60 Years; DNA Cleared Previous Defendant

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Barbara Pelkey and her children, Kathryn, Linda, Art, and Amy. (Photo courtesy of the Pelkey family.)

Barbara Pelkey and her children, Kathryn, Linda, Art, and Amy. (Photo courtesy of the Pelkey family.)

The second man convicted in the 1986 murder of a Wallingford woman has now been sentenced to sixty years in prison.

Before a New Haven Superior Court judge gave him the maximum sentence, Kevin Benefield said he understood the pain of the children of the woman he was convicted of killing, because he grew up without a father.

Previous defendant Kenneth Ireland was convicted of killing 30-year-old Barbara Pelkey and served twenty years in prison before he was cleared by new DNA testing.

Benefield was subsequently convicted in the case, and sentenced Friday in New Haven Superior Court.

Pelkey’s four children spoke at the sentencing hearing.

Speaking to the judge, one of her daughters described coming home from the first day of the third grade, to be informed that their mother had been killed.

Pelky’s son said he is unable to remember the sound of his mother’s voice.

A daughter described being afraid as a young child, when her father encouraged her to touch her mother’s casket. She feared what was inside.

The four children described how their mother’s killing led their father to commit suicide, and broke up the family.

Some of the children said they rebelled, and ended up in shelters.

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