GLADSTONE -- A former Gladstone police officer awaiting trial for murder has been sued by the mother of the victim for wrongful death.
The suit was filed by Irene Berg in Multnomah County Circuit Court, according to her attorney, Carol Hepburn. It asks for $900,000 in damages.
The lawsuit states that the May 2011 death of Deborah Lee Higbee-Benton, allegedly at the hands of then Sgt. Lynn Edward Benton "caused the loss of society, companionship and services to her surviving mother."
An autopsy showed that Higbee-Benton had been strangled and shot.
"Her mother continues to suffer from the loss of her daughter. Hepburn wrote in the suit. "Irene Berg is at an age when a mother would rely on her daughter for support and guidance."
Berg, 70, currently lives in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Sgt. Benton was arrested in November, 2012, accused of aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.
A third person, Susan Campbell, pleaded guilty in November 2012 of a murder-for-hire plot to kill Higbee-Benton. In a plea deal, she agreed to testify against Lynn Benton, who remains in jail without bail awaiting trial.
Campbell's son Jayson Jaynes was charged earlier this month with the aggravated murder of Higbee-Benton, according to a report in the Oregonian. He also remains in jail awaiting trial. He earlier had been arrested on child sex abuse charges.
Lynn Benton's Oregon driver's license lists his gender as male. Lynn was born as a woman and later underwent a sex change. In past court documents, Benton has been referred to as both "she" and "he" and Higbee-Benton was described as his estranged wife.