Former Ballet Dancer Charged With Murder of Husband In Florida

Ashley Benefield / Photo Source: American National Ballet

Lakewood Ranch, FLA — Ashley C. Benefield has been arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder in the shooting death of her husband, Doug G. Benefield at a Central Park home back on 9/27/20.

In the course of the investigation detectives determined Ashley shot Doug, during what she had described was as a domestic argument. However detectives found no evidence that she was acting in self-defense when she fired multiple shots at her husband. She claimed he was attacking her, but detectives found no signs that she had been physically abused.

The couple had been separated and were in the midst of a custody battle involving their daughter. Ashley was staying at her mother’s home in the Central Park neighborhood, while Doug resided at another address. Doug came over to see Ashley that day and were the only ones at the Central Park home when the shooting occurred. Investigators say Doug had his back turned when he was shot. He was struck twice by a .45 caliber handgun.

Detectives spent weeks reviewing the case and developed probable cause to issue a Second Degree Murder warrant for Ashley Benefield’s arrest. Her attorneys were notified and she turned herself in at the Manatee County Jail.

Mugshot

In 2017, the couple started a dance business in Charleston called American National Ballet, where Doug was the CEO and Ashley was Executive Director. 

Since Ashley’s arrest, Doug’s family decided to release his name. Previously they wanted his identity withheld under Marsy’s Law.

The case is still being investigated.

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