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Tobacco Heiress’ Estate Go to Daughter, Convicted Son’s Children

April 12, 1988 GMT

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) _ The estate of murdered tobacco heiress Margaret Benson should be shared equally by the children of the son who killed her and by her daughter, a judge has ruled.

The 63-year-old Pennsylvania tobacco heiress died when two pipe bombs ripped apart her car apart on July 9, 1985, in front of her North Naples home.

Collier Circuit Judge Hugh D. Hayes issued the ruling Monday. Through taxes, disbursements and attorney’s fees, the estate has dwindled from $10 million to about $1.2 million, said Carl Westman, the estate’s attorney.

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In August 1986, Margaret Benson’s son, Steven Wayne Benson, was convicted in the slaying of his mother and her adopted son, Scott R. Benson, 21. Steven Benson is serving two life sentences at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Fla.

Attorneys representing Steven Benson, 36, and Margaret Benson’s daughter, Carol Lynn Benson Kendall, 43, said they both probably will appeal Monday’s ruling.

Under Florida law, Steven Benson is precluded from receiving proceeds of the estate of the person he murdered, Hayes said.

Steven Benson’s children - Elizabeth Benson, 5; Christopher Logan Benson, 5; and Natalie Nichole Benson, 4 - are entitled to inherit from their grandmother’s estate, the judge said.