Cop accused of trying to hire hit man faces long legal road

Norman Benjamin
Norman Benjamin

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis police officer facing a host of charges, including attempting to hire a hit man, appeared in court for the first time Friday.

In the courtroom, with often animated facial expressions, MPD Sgt. Norman Benjamin discussed private matters with defense attorney Gray Bartlett.

"I don't know anything more than you guys know," Bartlett said after the hearing. "I just know what's in the public record."

And the public record is not favorable to Benjamin.

On September 3, he was shot in the gut while on duty. Police say he lied about how it happened, and TBI agents now believe he shot himself.

Benjamin is also accused of purchasing a pink revolver for a minor, then-17-year-old Kimberly Beasley, and investigators say he tried to hire a hit man to kill Beasley's boyfriend, Doug Howell.  He allegedly offered $800 to another man, Wesley Wayne Wilson, to do so.

Family acquaintances say Wilson is a son of Martha Mote - the woman initially charged with shooting Benjamin. Charges were filed against Mote for the shooting, but later dropped.

At his initial appearance, Benjamin spent only a few minutes in court. He remains in jail on $750,000 bond.

Bartlett, who is an associate in Leslie Ballin's law firm, expects his office will represent Benjamin soon.

"The case has been re-set until October 7th to give us an opportunity to get us retained," he said. "We are expecting to be retained shortly and be the attorney of record by next Friday."

Benjamin is on paid leave from the police force, though the Memphis Police Department will likely bring administrative charges against him.

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