Who killed Colonel Bennett?

Leesburg-courthouse1 "The woman who was left for dead after a brutal beating in Lansdowne last month has finally been able to talk to authorities, but Loudoun investigators are still seeking a motive in the case.

Cynthia Bennett, who was attacked along with her husband William during the early morning hours of Sunday, March 22, has memories of the incident and investigators have been speaking with her in short time periods as she recovers from multiple surgeries.

Meeting with reporters Tuesday, Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson said he is confident that Bennett will eventually be able to give the sheriff's office more details about the attack and potentially even lead them to a suspect or suspects.

"We've got to hone down exactly what it is she remembers happened and what is reality," Simpson said. "She is frustrated with trying to get it communicated to us."

The fact that Bennett remembers the incident is the first break the sheriff's office has gotten in the more than two weeks since William Bennett's body was found on a gravel path along Riverside Parkway near the Goose Creek. Cynthia Bennett was found on the other side of Riverside Parkway in a wooded area. Since the incident she has been listed in critical condition.

Deputies have been stationed outside Bennett's hospital room for protection Simpson said, and will remain there. Where she is being treated has not been released for her own protection."  Leesburg Today


Colonel William Bennett (USA-Ret.) is not someone I knew, but the story of his death just outside Leesburg, Virginia in March is of interest.

He and his wife were having a morning walk for exercise on a well known path when they apparently were set upon by several assailants reportedly armed with clubs.  Bennett was beaten to death and his wife left nearby in such a condition that the attackers must have anticipated her death.  As is recounted in this story, the sherriff of Loudon County is inclined to think this is the handiwork of gang members, perhaps in some bizarre initiation ritual.   There a lot of Central American immigrants in Virginia now and there have been incidents of violent criminality, usually among rival gang members.  Incidents against "gringos" have been few.  To be fair, most latino immigrants in Northern Virginia are hard working family people who contribute to the community.  To assume that immigrants are the killers seems a bit "hasty" in the absence of evidence.

Bennett is reported to have been a "technical intelligence" type who worked for the CIA after retirement from the army.  He is said to have continued to "consult" for CIA afer he stopped working for them full time.  That would be a normal pattern of employment.

He is reported to have worked on the analytic problem of the reverse engineering of "Patriot" missile technology by foreign companies.  The goal would have been for the country or company doing the reverse engineering to include that technology in missile systems or anti-missile defense system intended for export and sale on the international market.  He is reported to have had a good deal of success in this work.

Let's hear what you know and think about this crime.  pl


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27 Responses to Who killed Colonel Bennett?

  1. A completely unsettling and horrible criminal act! Most muggers know that joggers rarely carry valubles. So that is out but the possiblity of a gang hit should not be readily discarded. The gangs know however that involvment of crime with Anglos can get you unusual attention from the criminal justice system and hard time. So let’s just hope that the criminal investigators can track down this group? The CIA context is far too unlikely and remote for me although I did think the W.Colby departure from life in the 70’s by overturned canoe while a hot meal was waiting was somewhat mysterious.

  2. jonst says:

    Need to, for starters, understand how the wife got separated from the husband. Before the attack? After the attack? And how far is the separation? 20 ft? A half mile?

  3. Nightsticker says:

    Colonel Lang,
    If Sheriff Simpson exhausts all other leads, before he gives up, he might make inquiries to see if there are any (1) nations that have Patriot technology and (2)nations regularly
    associated with the mysterious deaths of foreigners. He might even find a small set [one] with both attributes (1) and (2).
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  4. Yohan says:

    The most noteworthy event in Bennett’s career was his involvement in mistakenly identifying the Chinese embassy in Belgrade as a target for U.S. bombing during the Kosovo War in 1999. He, among a few others, were assigned blame for the mistake and that effectively ended his career.
    Not to get all conspiracy theory, but maybe his death had something to do with that incident…

  5. meffie says:

    Colby died in the mid 1990’s, I know since I knew his daughter at the time. The family accepted the heart attack theme.

  6. arbogast says:

    If an “interested party” did this, then I believe it would have been done at a very great arm’s length.
    Which is to say that the perpetrators may not have known their masters, and their masters may have had other masters in turn.
    I guess what I am saying is that even if an ironclad motive were clearly established, it would still be extremely difficult to solve the case.

  7. Swampy says:

    Wow, I hadn’t heard any updates to this story in about a month. Bennett was also involved in the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Back when this story broke, the tin-foil crowd was looking for a link between Bennett and Jovica Stanisic.

  8. praxis says:

    Your taking on this item and his line of work would make me think that a more plausible reason for his murder would be to stop his professional progress. But considering that we sell the patriot system to our friends/allies/supporters/sympathizers, would any go as far as this to make sure we leave them to their devices? Does not that sound a bit too Hollywoodian???

  9. EGrise says:

    It always seems murky when intelligence work is involved. I remember the initial suspicion about Mir Aimal Kasi back in 1993 was that his attack was a planned “hit” on specific CIA personnel, and it took investigators some time and effort to dismiss that theory (as I understand it, Kasi was a spree shooter looking for a target of opportunity, his first choice being the Israeli embassy).
    That said, this is an odd crime for all the reasons Mr. Cummings lists above. Doesn’t seem like something “professional” criminals would do since there’s no obvious benefit.

  10. fasteddiez says:

    Gee Colonel, I’m scratching my head, as I write, to ward off the befuddlement. What countries or non-state actors are good at this kind of stuff? I mean stealing S&T type info. What entities have solidified relationships with Russian/East European Mafias? Who feels as “right at home” in Brighton Beach as they do in the Beltway?
    That’s it, I give up; stick a fork in me, I’m done, and my head hurts.
    Given the Mensa quotient of the contributors here, I am sure a plausible theory will evolve Moskosh and Riki Tik.

  11. Cloned Poster says:

    Your post immediately reminded me of this.

  12. doug says:

    Latino gangs, MS13, the Mexican Mafia, etc., much like the Mafia, will generally avoid killing women and greenlight (authorize killing) rogue gang members that kill women or children. There are very few exceptions.
    It is a rather anomolous crime. Doesn’t fit any gang pattern I’m aware of.

  13. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Absolutely fascinating case. Without reading the incident report and analyzing all forensic evidence, it is probably unwise to draw anything more than certain trends and patterns that, in turn, can lead to probable cause for arrest(s).
    But, for starters, the investigators (let’s hope they are the best of the State and not the Fed, at this point) will determine if the victims regularly traveled the path that took them to the crime scene. Such information will determine the probabilities of whether or not the attack was random or planned.
    Secondly, they’ll search for signs to determine if the perpetrator(s) were on drugs when the crime occurred. To do so, look for evidence that helps gauge the intensity of the attack. Two narcotics in particular, crack and crank, create a type of frenzy that goes beyond the norm. As an example, in one case, a woman living in a mobile home park was stabbed over 40 times. The defendant was on crank (meth). As another example: all but certain that OJ was on meth.
    Thirdly, two aspects of the crime scene analysis are worth taking an initial close look to help determine the probabilities of who committed the attack as well as the motive. Blood splatter analysis and, something often ignored, shoe prints. The latter could tell much and help determine the type of people involved (I am presuming more than one attacker here, based on the woman‘s statements).
    While the victim worked for the CIA, as long as evidence indicates that a gang or simply locals may be involved, best to keep the feds out during initial investigation. Feds are notorious for alienating the local population. (Eric Rudolph case is but one example, but the list is mighty, mighty long) Typically the best of the State are much better able to talk to the locals. The best I have seen was an Atlanta SWAT (former atlanta red dog unit for those so attuned) and homicide detective (now prosecutor) whose incident reports were extraordinary. He knew how to go into projects and mobile home parks because he had done it for so many years. He didn’t go into those areas as if he were landing on Normandy which Feds tend to do.
    And it wouldn’t hurt to have well respected State probation officers talk to the locals as well. People overlook the significance of their work.
    I have found the vast majority of Hispanics, particularly the first generation, good and hard working people, in fact, so hard working that they have alienated people who would rather not. But one Hispanic gang in particular, at least from what I can recall from my work of a few years ago, was very active in Virginia. MS-13 originating from El Salvador via LA. The rituals of MS 13, and all gangs for that matter, are beyond fascinating and very powerful, often more powerful than what people receive in the US military, meaning their loyalty remains first with the gang. But crime scene analysis could render clues as to any gang affiliation and whether or not this was an initiation that , if successful, entitles the defendant to the inner circle and a most distinguish mark — a tattoo of a tear near the corner of the eye. From what I read, one male was more heavily involved in the killing.
    I suppose if you read about Feds guarding the door to the murdered victim’s spouse, then evidence has gone down a starkly different path. Kinda’ curious if the woman was dragged to a different spot but I have other work to do.

  14. Highlander says:

    Brutal and violent death in our Imperial Capital’s exurban precincts, always a disturbing event. My sincere condolences to Colonel Bennett’s family.
    I have a brother in law with an isolated small farm in western Loudoun County. He uses it as a weekend retreat for his family. This takes a bit of the bloom off of that rose.
    It sounds as if the Colonel could well have possessed technical knowledge of some sort. Which someone in the Black World might have wanted terminated. Who, is anyone’s guess.
    The Central American gang theory is also certainly viable. My friends in Law Enforcement tell me the Central American gangs in particular are incredibily violent and ruthless. The degree of violence is almost beyond the comprehension of the average American citizen. Perhaps the gang was under contract to the Black
    World. Who knows?
    If you have taken the time to watch our Imperial Capital closely over the years, periodically some person of interest seems to die in somewhat unusual circumstance. And quite often there is never a fully satisfying explanation offered. You know for the most part their local Justice System (DC in particular) is set up to first answer directly to the political establishment. (And as we all know, our political class always wants the truth to be known.)
    Just one more reason, I appreciate my peace and solitude far back in the hills. At least here you can see the bastards coming, but they never do. It’s far too much trouble to get here.
    Oh well, may Colonel Bennett rest in peace after a life well lived serving his country.

  15. Bourbon says:

    It has been reported that Col. Bennett was involved in the target selection that led to the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. This is an interesting angle.
    Reverse engineering of missile defense technology brings China and Israel immediately to mind. Reports of suspicious white vans and students selling things door to door in the area at the time of the murder, brings another incident of Israeli espionage to mind.
    This is conjecture though, and nothing to go on.
    I am sorry for the Bennett families, and SF & Intelligence community’s loss.

  16. Yohan’s reflection on the Chinese Embassy (and others) kind of interesting but rumors persist that act was not accidental and chinese were assisting in air defense of Belgrade.
    Who knows? Perhaps we will never know but CIA and Patriot missile line (even PAC 3 system not likley success)are interesting subjects in themselves. Random attack probably. But 5 or 6 individuals involved if that turns out to be the case–WOW! Really strange.

  17. doug says:

    I must say Laura Rozen is very connected. Weeks before Bush canned Rumsfeld she wrote that a replacement was being searched for. Her source was offered the job but had turned it down.

  18. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    My first thought was gang initiation as could be inferred from the Sheriff’s apparent belief in gang involvement and as later supported by Sidney Smith’s comment. The real question is one of motivation. Why was it done? Searching for a rational motive and solution to the crime is hard when we are forced to define rational in terms of our own personal experience base.
    On the continuing interrogation of the wife who is likely suffering from cognitive impairment due to the beating: I hope the hospital is making available skilled language pathologists who work regularly with this kind of problem. The DC area is replete with these kinds of experts if they are not already being used.

  19. Highlander says:

    Just because Billy Clinton’s boys told the Chicoms,”Ooops, Golly Jee, some of those dummies at the CIA bombed your embassy by mistake!We’re sooo sorry!”
    Doesn’t necessarily make it a mistake.
    Think about it. Of all the sets of oak doors in Belgrade to accidentally put a Hi Tech guided bomb through,well that door just randomly turned out to belong to the Chinese government! Damn what bad luck! What a terrible coincidence!
    Like any good military man, Colonel Bennett may have simply publicly accepted the blame for screwing up. When in fact, he was correctly doing exactly what he was ordered to do. Thusly giving his Commander in Chief plausible deniability.
    But I doubt this particular incident had anything to do with his murder (after all just a few Chinese were killed, and they have a billion or so).
    But apparently several of you think those dastardly Jews are behind it. If so just be man enough to come out and say it in plain English instead of code words. True the Israelis have access to our Patriot technology, and have a potential motive to steal it, and use it in their competing technology. But that’s not a case. So do several other countries.
    But if you just can’t get this Jew thing out of your mind. Why don’t you just call over to the new “change you can believe in” White House and ask? Because a significant portion of the Jewish population now works there. And as Rahm Emanuel’s father succiently put it,”they aren’t there as cleaning people”.
    Surely,somebody in our White House can tell you, if your suspicions are correct.

  20. rjj says:

    were set upon by several assailants reportedly armed with clubs.
    Clubs? Are there any Canadian (Newfie?) gangs in the area?

  21. Charles I says:

    rjj, lemme know where you live, I’ll send a few a d’boys by with some seal flipper pie – its to die for. I’m sure Col. Bennett’s family will find solace and succour in your little jest. Have you phoned your tip into the hotline?
    Besides, stands to reason a Canadian’d do a proper job of it – our murderous reputation didn’t just blow through your breezeway for nothing. Those clubs kill real good.
    What the hell is so offensive about a few sealers getting up close and personal with their seasonal livelihoods? Especially, given all the rest of the hellish things we do to enjoy pricey sneakers, big Oil and fast food. Have you ever seen the inside of an industrial slaughterhouse? I’d sooner club a seal to death than watch that carnage – it’d ruin my lunch.

  22. MRW. says:

    This is behind a subscription fee. It’s The Wayne Madsen Report. Subscribers can publish his stories after 72 hours. (Maybe it’s 48 hrs, but to be on the safe side.)
    April 10-12, 2009 — Bennett had caught the Israelis red-handed in stealing and selling Patriot technology
    April 10-12, 2009 — Bennett had caught the Israelis red-handed in stealing and selling Patriot technology
    Retired U.S. Army Colonel William Bennett, who was bludgeoned to death by as many as five assailants while walking with his wife in Landsdowne, Virginia, on the early morning of March 22 had intimate knowledge that components of Russia’s S-300 missile defense system was based on U.S. Patriot missile technology had been illegally sold by the Israelis to both the Russians and Chinese, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
    WMR has learned that contrary to previous reports that Bennett left the CIA in 2000, the technical specialist on foreign weapons systems was put in charge of the CIA’s technical evaluation of the Russian S-300 missile system that was sold by Russia to Cyprus as the result of a deal between Russia’s Rosvooruzheniye arm company and the Cypriot Defense Ministry on January 4, 1997.
    On April 6, 2009, WMR reported: “A U.S. intelligence source who examined the Russian [S-300] radar system while being tested in Algeria discovered the original software documents used by the anti-stealth system were written in Hebrew and were provided by the Israelis to the Russians. The Russians were using their partially Israeli-developed anti-stealth radar system to track the high altitude stealth Aurora testing that was going on in the skies above North Africa at the time. The Israelis developed a highly-advanced and portable version of the radar that they sold to both the Russians and the Chinese. In addition, this system is part of the advance early warning radar system used by the Russian S-300 missile system, which Russia has agreed to provide to Iran. The system, according to U.S. intelligence sources, uses software copied from the Patriot missile system sold by the United States to Israel.”
    After pressure was exerted by the United States and Turkey to the S-300 PMU1 system being placed in Cyprus, it was agreed by Cyprus and Greece that the S-300 system would be deployed on the Greek island of Crete instead. However, the Greek government transferred the S-300 system to the CIA in exchange for four Patriot missile batteries. To placate Turkey for the Patriots given to Greece, the United States provided the Turks with newer F-16 fighter planes. To placate Cyprus, the French agreed to sell the Cypriots Milan-3 anti-tank missiles. The Israelis were rewarded with two additional Patriot missile batteries even though their illegal technology transfers ended up being used in the Russian S-300 system. All of these arms deals were implemented during the Bill Clinton administration.
    WMR has also learned that there is still a great deal of interest in the Florida white van seen in the Leesburg/Landsdowne area the night before and the morning of the attack on Bennett and his wife, which left Mrs. Bennett in critical condition. FBI counter-intelligence agents believe the van seen in the area was a Ryder rental van. The van, known as a “cargo van,” does not have rear windows for security purposes and was favored by the Israeli “art students” who cased the offices and homes of federal employees in the months prior to 9/11. There is particular interest in a heavy set man seen with the white van in the area where the Bennetts were found by police. The description matches that of a known Mossad hit man, called “Stinky” by FBI counter-intelligence agents. “Stinky’s” height” is 5′ 4″, he has black hair that is balding in the front and on the top, and he said to wear a lot of gold jewelry along with a black leather jacket. Stinky is known to always take a souvenir, such as an item of jewelry, after he performs a murder in order to prove the “hit.” The FBI reportedly has an extensive file on “Stinky” and has linked him to pre-9/11 Israeli art student activities, as well as the 1990 assassination of Canadian arms designer and dealer Gerald Bull in his Brussels apartment. Bull was involved in weapons projects involving Iraq, China, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Spain, and Israel. And the date of Bull’s assassination by Mossad should be of interest to FBI and Loudoun County investigators: March 22, the same date that Colonel Bennett was murdered, nineteen years later.

  23. Fitzhugh says:

    What’s the reputation of The Wayne Madsen Report?

  24. euclidcreek says:

    Reputation of the WMR is zip.

  25. confusedponderer says:

    From War & Piece by Laura Rozen:

    Two men with possible gang affiliations have been charged with capital murder and two other suspects are expected to be charged in the beating death of a Loudoun County man during a morning stroll with his wife last month, authorities said yesterday. The attack was a “random robbery gone bad,” Loudoun Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson said.
    Police began to home in on the four suspects while executing search warrants in connection with a flurry of burglaries, robberies and assaults in Loudoun County. Some suspects appear to be either members of or associated with a regional street gang, but it does not appear that the attacks were part of a gang initiation or ritual, authorities said.
    Darwin G. Bowman, 18, of Annandale, and a 17-year-old male from Sterling were charged with murder in the killing of William Bennett near his Landsdowne home, the sheriff’s office said.
    Anthony R. Roberts, 20, of Middleburg, has not been charged in Bennett’s killing, the office said. Roberts is being held on charges that he burglarized Loudoun Guns on April 15 in Leesburg. A fourth adult male suspect in the Bennett case, an unidentified 18-year-old from Sterling, is also in custody on unrelated charges.
    All of the suspects are being held without bond, officials said. Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman said additional charges are expected in coming days in connection with wounds suffered by Bennett’s wife, Cynthia, who was critically injured in the attack.
    News of the arrests in the Bennett attacks came as little solace to neighbors, who said they had been on heightened alert since the killing.
    “If it was a random attack, it could happen again,” said Agnes McDonald, who has lived in Lansdowne since 2004 and used to walk her dog in the area where the Bennetts were beaten. “We’re not very comfortable knowing that.”
    Bennett, 57, was found dead shortly before 6 a.m. March 22 along Riverside Parkway near Rocky Creek Drive by a sheriff’s deputy investigating a report of a suspicious vehicle. He and Cynthia Bennett, 55, had been walking less than a mile from their house.
    Cynthia Bennett was found about 30 minutes later across the road, beyond a bloodied white fence in a muddy ditch. She has been recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital and was recently moved out of the intensive care unit, officials said.
    Simpson refused to identify the gang, saying it was unclear at what level the suspects were involved. He said the suspects were part of a “criminal enterprise” involved in a countywide crime spree in recent weeks.
    “They’re not complete strangers, but they’ve been elusive so far,” Simpson said yesterday during a news conference near the Potomac Station subdivision where the Bennetts were found.
    The men were familiar with the Lansdowne area and were “looking for something to get into,” Simpson said. “The Bennetts were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
    Investigators are searching for additional suspects, based on eyewitness accounts of five to six suspects at the scene.
    “The fact that this is random is literally the scariest part of the whole thing,” Simpson said.
    During an unrelated investigation into a late-night, mob-like assault at the Cascades Community Center on Feb. 28, some of the suspects in the Bennett attack were identified, Simpson said. At the time, the suspects in that case were said to be possibly affiliated with a gang.
    The final break in the case came Thursday night, Simpson said, when authorities found the nondescript white van linked to the attack.
    Authorities said they would be contacting neighboring jurisdictions to see if the suspects could be linked to any other crimes. …

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