PORTLAND — The murder conviction of a former police sergeant in the death of his estranged wife has been reversed by the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Lynn Benton was found guilty by a jury in 2016 of aggravated murder, criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and attempted murder in connection with the 2011 death of Debbie Higbee-Benton. Higbee-Benton was found dead in her Gladstone salon on May 28, 2011. Authorities said an autopsy determined she had been shot in the back and had been strangled.
Benton was found guilty of arranging the killing.
The Oregon Court of Appeals found Wednesday that a jail informant was acting as a state agent after coming to authorities with information about the case, KOIN-TV reported.
Prosecutors said Benton had his wife killed because he was afraid he could lose his job if she disclosed domestic abuse.
Prosecutors with the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office are now considering whether to appeal that decision to the Oregon Supreme Court or retry the case.