36-year-old pleads guilty to felony

Published 9:16 am Monday, May 24, 2010

An Austin man accused of holding a box cutter to the throat of another man last month at his home pleaded guilty to making terroristic threats, a felony, Friday in Mower County court.

Troy Lester Benner, 36, is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 20 on the single count. As part of his plea, a second felony charge of assault with a dangerous weapon was dismissed.

The incident in question occurred April 8. According to a criminal complaint, the victim, a 69-year-old man, reported the incident to police the next morning. When officers arrived, the man was holding a shotgun and said he was scared of Benner. Police were able to calm the man down and get him to set the gun down before they talked to him, the complaint states.

The victim said that the night before, he heard a knock on the door and went to answer it. When he did, a man grabbed him and put a knife to his throat, the complaint states. The victim said the man demanded to know if he was a police informant and said that he had “10 seconds to live.”

The man also made threats regarding a person who the victim believed to be a 25-year-old male who had recently brought him a knife he found, the complaint states. That knife apparently belonged to the attacker but had not been returned.

The victim was able to calm the attacker down, and the man eventually left the area with an unidentified female. The victim also said the man had identified himself as “Troy” during the attack.

A responding officer had issued an unrelated assault citation to Benner three blocks away from the 69-year-old man’s home the night before, so he showed the man a police photo of Benner. The victim immediately identified him as the attacker, the complaint states.

Officers next spoke with a 29-year-old female, who confirmed that she had went to pick Benner up the night before and that she saw him with an older guy, later identified as the victim. Authorities also spoke with the 25-year-old male, who confirmed the story about the recovered knife, the complaint states.

Officers met with Benner, who was already in jail on the other assault and reportedly still drunk from the night before. He said he had no recollection of going to the victim’s house.