Missoula Woman Charged With Deliberate Homicide
On Sunday November 3, Missoula police officers responded to an address in the 3600 block of Stephens Avenue. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh says they received a report of an unattended death that involved a 42-year-old male.
“At that point, there were observations made by the officers that initiated an investigation into the death of this individual,” Welsh said. “Over the course of the following week, the case developed and the identity of a suspect came to light.”
At around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to a trespassing report at that same apartment building. Welsh says it was not the same apartment where the individual passed away, but it was the same building.
“A female was identified there and she was connected to the previous unattended death,” Welsh said. “She was initially arrested for trespassing and was identified as 47-year-old Nancy Wright. Wright was connected to the unattended death from the previous Sunday. She is being held on a charge of homicide.”
According to court documents, an employee of North West Home Care was checking on a patient, Phillip Benjamin. The fire department sent a unit to respond and confirmed Benjamin was deceased. There are no signs of forced entry or signs of struggle.
Benjamin was wearing his CPAP mask when his caregiver found him. A chip inside the CPAP machine records Benjamin's sleep patterns. By checking the records, authorities and a medical expert were able to determine when Benjamin died.
Blood was observed covering Benjamin’s chest. Upon closer look, it was apparent Benjamin had received a stab to the chest area from what appeared to be a knife. An officer located a knife laying on the floor partially underneath Benjamin’s leg.
Wright lives in the apartment building and several witnesses said they saw or heard an altercation between her and Benjamin on Halloween. Detectives asked Wright if she had even been in Benjamin’s apartment and she said, “ya”. When asked what she did in the apartment she said, “I killed him”. The detective asked Wright if she’d just told her that she killed the male downstairs and she verified by saying, “I murdered him”. When asked how she did that, Wright responded, “with a knife”. The detective asked Wright why she did that and she replied, “I don’t know... I was told to do it”. When asked who told her to do it she became frustrated and said, “I don’t know!”
On November 14, a search warrant was issued to search Wright’s apartment. Officers found dozens of knives in her apartment including one knife that appears to match the murder weapon.
Wright is being held on $2 million dollar bond in the Missoula County Detention Center.