FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A murder charge has been filed in the death of a 74-year-old man shot in the head inside his southwest-side home in November.
Susan A. Behny was charged Tuesday with Murder and Using a Firearm in a Crime in the death of her husband Kenneth Ralph Behny. She was arrested a day later.
Kenneth Behny was found around 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in a bedroom of his home at 3633 Turf Lane, shot in the head. His death was ruled a homicide by the Allen County Coroner’s Office.
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The 74-year-old victim, shot in the head with a pellet shotgun, often visited the Franciscan Center just to get away from the house.
“If something happens to me, that b—- did it,” he told a confidant who worked there. He was referring to his wife, according to court documents.
Police were called to the Behny residence at 3633 Turf Lane Nov. 7 at 1:30 p.m. after Susan Behny reported that she thought her husband had been murdered. Police found her husband “with a very large and apparent gunshot wound to the head indicative of a large caliber gunshot,” court documents said.
An autopsy revealed that metal birdshot-style pellets were visible in an X-ray of Kenneth’s head. The pellets were retrieved and turned over to law enforcement, court documents said.
Susan explained that she and Kenneth slept in separate beds and that he’d gone to bed around 6 p.m. the night before the discovery. Around 4 a.m. she saw there were no lights on and thought that was unusual because normally her husband got up at that time and drank coffee.
Several hours later, she got up at 11 a.m., looked down the hallway and saw his feet in bed and figured he’d dozed off. She apparently didn’t see a large gunshot wound to his head, court documents said. Then she went to fall asleep in front of the television until 1 p.m. She walked into Kenneth’s bedroom to wake him up because he had an appointment and that’s when she noticed blood on his face and blood spatter on the wall “and knew he had been murdered,” she said, court documents said.
Long-time homicide detective Brian Martin interviewed her and thought that her behavior didn’t fit the normal behavior of someone whose close family member had just been killed. She made “spontaneous utterances,” Martin said, that “she didn’t kill her husband, nor did she murder him,” court documents said. Susan appeared very calm, which was also not normal behavior he usually saw in a long time spouse.
Crime scene investigator Michelle Iden took photos at the scene, including taking photos of injuries to Susan’s arm “that could be consistent with shooting a shotgun,” court documents said. Susan had a large bruise near her left upper arm. Susan told crime scene that the injury was from her son helping her get out of her chair.
When Martin asked Susan why her husband might have been murdered, she told him she knew it wasn’t just a bloody nose and that she noticed the couch had been pulled away from the sliding glass door and the stick used to block the opening had been put in an upright position.
But Fort Wayne officers arrived to find the rear sliding door closed along with the screen door and the rug pulled away before the couch was moved. Martin believed the scene was staged and not consistent with forced entry or home invasions, court documents said.
One witness told homicide detective Ben MacDonald that Kenneth was concerned that someone had broken into his garage the Saturday before his death and stolen two cases of beer. Kenneth told that witness that from that point on he was going to lock the side garage door and that no one should have been able to get in the sliding back door.
Martin asked Susan if she’d heard any loud noises the night before. She claimed she heard a noise but thought it was just a cane falling on the floor. Her husband had a four-point cane he used that stood on its own and was found next to Kenneth’s bed.
If a shotgun had been shot, it would have made an “extremely loud noise,” but no weapon was found inside the Behny home, court documents said.
Another witness reported that Kenneth was her bus driver in school and she’d known him a long time. She recalled Kenneth telling that he thought two people had tried to break in to his garage about a week before his death. She also noted that at her husband’s funeral, Susan seemed “abnormally talkative and looked very good and was wearing makeup,” court documents said.
Another witness who’d been a neighbor to the Behnys told homicide detective Liza Anglin that Kenneth “spent most of his time in the garage,” and it was no secret that the couple didn’t have a good relationship. Kenneth often referred to his wife as that “f—ing b—-,” court documents said.
WANE 15 went to the home on Turf Lane Tuesday morning and learned that it has since been sold and rented out. A woman said she moved in several weeks ago.
Neighbor Angie Krebs said she’s relieved police charged Behny.
“It’s something that we never forgot. Even the neighbors talked about it. We’re relieved because we knew a stranger didn’t come into our neighborhood and do that,” Krebs said.
Krebs added that she was friends with Kenneth Behny.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Kenneth Behny was shot in a garage. That was an error. Court documents indicate his body was found in a bedroom.