East Village man accused of killing husband pleads not guilty to murder charge

Left: Terry Ray Benson, 27. Right: 28-year-old James Hearn

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — An East Village resident accused of killing his husband, an active-duty Navy man, at their downtown apartment on New Year’s Day, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

Terry Ray Benson, 27, was ordered held on $1 million bail in the death of 28-year-old James Hearn.

San Diego police said Benson allegedly stabbed Hearn at their residence in the 600 block of 14th Street shortly before 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Before collapsing in a fifth-floor hallway, the victim was able to alert a neighbor, who made a 911 call, Lt. Todd Griffin said.

Hearn, who worked at Naval Medical Center San Diego in Balboa Park, died at the scene, despite the efforts of patrol officers and paramedics to keep him alive with CPR.

The motive for the violence remains unknown, according to Griffin.

Prior to the emergency call, police received no reports of an argument or other type of disturbance at the couple’s apartment near Petco Park on the night Hearn died. Benson faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The lieutenant said he did not know how long the suspect and victim had been married.

Judge Maureen Hallahan scheduled a bail review/status conference for Jan. 17.

Categories: Local San Diego News