Anna Benson, I'm sorry. I take it all back.
All the insensitive remarks about your mental stability, my repeatedly calling you not just "bat shit crazy," but the "bat shit craziest" ex-wife/girlfriend in the free world (well, actually, with you I'm including the incarcerated portion of the free world, which I realize is a bit of an oxymoron).
All the scoffing at your ill fated plan to somehow march into your soon to be ex-husband Kris' home, armed to the teeth with every weapon short of a nuclear warhead trying to procure $30,000 from him.
All the comments about just how trashy you really are, which as it turns out, is even trashier than we had thought at the apex of your finest climbs aboard the stripper pole as a teenage "performer."
All of it, I take back. I am sorry.
For truth be told, I had no idea you were capable of murder, or at the very least, issuing a cryptic order to "get rid of" someone that may have sounded like a murder order.
Last week, Anna Benson stormed into Kris Benson's Smyrna, GA home demanding money, armed to the gills, and donning a bulletproof vest. Thankfully, the only fallout from this was a darkly comical 9-1-1 call from Kris (seeking shelter in the woods nearby his home) and Anna's only phone call apparently being to the New York Post for an interview in which she predictably and psychotically said she was still in love with Kris.
It certainly could have been a whole lot worse.
And back in 1996, for Michael Evans, it was.
According to a story in the New York Daily News, Benson, under her previous name "Anna Warren," was the target of a nationwide manhunt back in 1996 in connection with the murder of the 18 year old Evans in Knoxville.
According to the story, in 1996, Warren was living in a filthy Knoxville, TN apartment with her boyfriend at the time, a 19 year old redneck piece of white trash (I'm assuming he was trashy, I mean, as you'll see, the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming) named Paul Dejongh. Like many couples, Warren and Dejongh had many hobbies, including (according to the graffiti on their apartment walls) fantasizing about cop killing ("The only good pig is a dead pig") and Satan ("666").
One night, according to witnesses, apparently fed up with Evans for some reason, Warren told Dejongh to "get rid of him," which Dejongh interpreted as "blow his brains out." Next thing we knew, the graffiti on the Knoxville apartment walls was joined by a new coat of Evans' spattered blood.
The Knoxville police obtained warrants for the arrests of Warren and Dejongh, who had hightailed it quickly out of Knoxville in a stolen 1992 red Lexus. Eventually, after five months, the police would track down Warren, and after an episode of America's Most Wanted aired to aid in the pursuit of him, they would locate and arrest Dejongh, who eventually died in prison while serving a 21 year sentence for second degree murder.
Warren was exonerated of all charges before Dejongh went to prison based in large part to the ambiguity of the statement "Get rid of him," which could have meant everything from "Ask him to leave the apartment" to "Turn him into Swiss cheese."
The authorities chose the former.
Thanks to the YouTube investigative work of Deadspin, we can relive the magic of the Anna Benson murder saga with classic video of America's Most Wanted!
Here you go:
Can we Zapruder this video? I think we can...
0:04 -- It's John Walsh! And he is full-on late 90's gear, different shades of denim head to toe, and shirt neatly tucked into his jeans that are pulled up somewhere in the mid abdomen region. We learn that the victim, Michael Evans, Jr., was an aspiring journalist with his whole life in front of him, which as you will see, will very soon beg the question "Just what in the hell did this guy have in common with Anna Warren and Paul Dejongh?"
0:29 -- It's Michael Evans, Sr., father of the victim, before he changed his name to Steve Wyche and started working for the NFL Network.
0:37 -- We cut to the beginning of the story of the Warren/Dejongh/Evans triangle with a shirtless man in a McDonald's play area-style ball pit, and I immediately think "Wow, this is going to be some riveting home video," but I am quickly reminded of the greatest part of AMW -- re-enactment of criminal plots and storylines using really terrible actors! Oh hell fucking yes...
0:45 -- It appears that Warren is being played by Selma Blair's uglier, chunkier, and far less talented sister and Dejongh is being played by Matthew McConaughey's redneck cousin (or possibly, Matthew McConaughey).
0:47 -- Wait, there are posters in the background on the wall, so apparently this ball pit is a room in Warren's and Dejongh's apartment. Apparently, if you ever decide to buy a home with a white trash piece of shit, you can replace "home office" with "plastic ball pit" in the sentence "Hey, I think we can turn this extra bedroom into a home office!"
0:48 -- Actual dialogue in the script:
INT. Ball pit
WARREN: Whatta you do for me?
DEJONGH: Anythang you want...
WARREN: I can live with that...
[Warren and Dejongh simulate kinky, ball pit sex]
0:50 -- We learn that Warren made her living at the time as a topless dancer, and unfortunately they don't use a body double to simulate the stripping scenes, instead choosing to use Chunky McSelmablair in a black bra and a skirt that looks like a pair of granny panties. This is no way to keep people tuned in, AMW!
0:53 -- Dejongh is depicted as a small time thief who likes to walk into rooms where his friends are eating pizza and point guns at them for fun. Evans is depicted as one of Dejongh's friends who, seconds after Dejongh puts the gun away, chuckles at how hilarious Dejongh's warped sense of humor is. I just know if I were an "aspiring journalist," I'd have found different friends.
1:16 -- Warren and Dejongh have an argument over Dejongh's friends eating all their food, crashing on their couches, and basically never leaving. Because apparently a 20 year old stripper in Knoxville is deserving of so much more, Warren flips out on Dejongh and demands he do something about this.
By the way, if you're looking for a mecca scene that hammers home the dysfunctional nature of the Warren/Dejongh relationship along with reinforcement on the caliber of actor/actress AMW drew for its simulated bits like this, this is that scene.
It's basically the "Tony and Carmela, Season 4 Sopranos finale, pool house argument" scene meets porn-level acting.
Incidentally, I'm fairly certain that if acting had a farm system, it would look like this:
MAJOR LEAGUES: HBO series and feature films AAA: Sitcoms, any Law & Order series AA: Corporate educational videos A: Porn Mexican League: Spanish porn Rookie League: America's Most Wanted
1:48 -- After the argument with Warren is over, as if a scene involving an in-home ball pit could get any weirder, Dejongh is yanked into the ball pit by Evans, which officially makes this the "Top Gun volleyball scene" of in-home ball pit scenes.
1:51 -- An eviction notice is issued. Who saw that coming? A Knoxville stripper and a small time petty thief who likes guns! No way! Don't you wish there was a casino where you could wager on certain couples or people getting evicted or the over/under on when they'd be getting evicted? This would destroy. (Yes, you can gamble on anything, kids!)
2:00 -- Anna is stabbing a feather pillow like Carlo stabbing Fat Dom Gamiello in the back room of Satriale's, and screaming at Evans that it's his fault they're getting evicted (racist!). So, yeah, I think we know where AMW stands on Anna Warren's culpability in all of this.
2:28 -- After Warren angrily turns off the stereo, Dejongh asks Evans to turn the stereo back on. Very subtle, who saw a murder coming.
2:37 -- Dejongh shoots Evans, who apparently had donated all of his blood to a local blood bank for weed and pizza money, because he is clearly on "EMPTY" in this scene. Not a drop of blood!
2:45 -- They show an actor playing a policeman breaking the tragic news to an actor playing Michael's dad, then cut to Michael's actual dad. That was weird. Michael's dad didn't want to play himself? Did he get to choose who would play him? It begs the question "If you were going to be a party to a murder/manhunt, who would you want to play you on America's Most Wanted?" For me, I'd say Michael Chiklis if I were the murderer, and the dude who plays the eunuch on Game of Thrones if I were the victim.
3:12 -- You can tell a lot about a criminal by the shirt he or she wears at the time he or she is arrested. That said....
3:14 -- Actual arrest footage of Warren who is wearing a Gumby and Pokey t-shirt while being walked into the jail. Sure she is.
3:30 -- Dejongh would eventually get captured at a construction site outside of Atlanta, a construction site being run by the company with the worst background checking policy in the country at the time, apparently.
4:20 -- Actual arrest footage of Dejongh who is wearing no shirt. Sure he is.
So all these years later, after narrowly escaping prison and falling into a life of wealth and luxury, perhaps Anna Benson is just getting what she should have had coming to her to begin with.
Karma is a bitch, maybe even a bigger bitch than Anna Benson.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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