Share the Love – #Writers – Crime Writer Sue Coletta

Source: Share the Love – #Writers – Crime Writer Sue Coletta


Sex crimes case: Woman enters plea agreement By CHARLES BOOTHE Bluefield Daily Telegraph 10 hrs ago

staff photo april

April Dawn Bennett, 25, may see all charges dropped except one, gross child neglect creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, if she cooperates with the state in the case against her husband, Henry Vincent Bennett, 25.

Staff photo by Eric DiNovo

PRINCETON — A plea agreement has been reached for a Bluefield woman who, along with her husband, were charged in February on several sexual assault charges, including incest.

April Dawn Bennett, 25, may see all charges dropped except one, gross child neglect creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, if she cooperates with the state in the case against her husband, Henry Vincent Bennett, 25.

The plea also includes the possibility of probation.

Both were indicted in June on charges of sexual assault first degree, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust, incest, gross child neglect, creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury and accessory.

April Bennett was released on bond and Henry Bennett remains incarcerated at Southern Regional Jail on a $500,000 bond.

sentencing date for April Bennett on Dec. 18. Her husband’s trial is scheduled for Dec. 11.

But Swope cautioned her that the plea agreement hinges on her help in prosecuting the case against her husband and also that even with the plea she could still be sentenced to one to five years.

Both Bennett and her attorney, Ryan Flanigan, told Swope they fully understand the plea and agree to it, as did Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Adam Wolfe and the Bennett children’s guardian ad litem.

Swope also told Wolfe that since she will testify against her husband, what she “can do is extremely limited” in her testimony because of laws regarding such testimony.

Wolfe said he understands those limitations.

“I am sure they will want to interview you,” Swope told Bennett, referring to the prosecution.

Bennett will also be involved in a presentencing investigation.

Henry Bennett was arrested Feb. 12 and charged with sexual assault, sexual abuse and incest of a 3-year-old female. April Bennett was brought in for questioning and later charged with child neglect, but that charge was upgraded to the others later.

Bluefield Police Sgt. Kenny Adams said police were tipped off to the case by Child Protective Services and after Henry Bennett was arrested, additional counts on all the charges were brought after a second victim reported abuse. “After he was arrested (the second victim) disclosed to a teacher,” Adams said earlier, explaining that the child described graphic sexual acts.

In a criminal complaint, Bluefield Det. J.B. Fox said Bennett initially denied the allegations but later “ultimately confessed” to the sexual assault and abuse.

Details of sex acts involving a child were also described.

Contact Charles Boothe at

Some Favorite Opening Lines in Mystery/Crime Novels

Some wild openers here! Very entertaining!

E. Michael Helms

(Note: This appeared quite some time ago at I came across it while updating my files and thought the readers of this blog might enjoy it. No originality is claimed or presumed.  –E. Michael Helms)

Whether readers or writers, we all know the importance of that opening line. It should grab our attention and compel us to read on. Recently I was sitting at my desk struggling over the first line of a new short story I’m working on. I must’ve spent an hour writing and deleting, writing and changing, moving this phrase here, that word over there, ad nauseam. Finally I gave up, pushed my chair away from the desk. I felt like pulling out what hair I have left. It was then I noticed the five stacks of mystery/crime novels piled high to the left and right of my workspace. The lightbulb came on. I grabbed several…

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The Generosity of Listening “Listening with the ear of the heart” By John Amodeo, PhD

hearts hearts“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Epictetus

When we hear the word “generosity,” we may think about donating money and helping the needy. While these can be expressions of a generous heart, there is a more fundamental and soulful way that we can extend generosity in our everyday lives. And it doesn’t cost us any money.

A deep human longing is to be seen, heard, and understood. The epidemic of loneliness and depression in our society can be traced in part to how we often don’t hear each other. Perhaps we’re driven by a fear of survival in a highly competitive society. By the end of the day, we may be exhausted and seek solace in the TV or computer.

We may have grown so accustomed to not being heard, and being criticized and shamed when we’ve tried, that we’ve learned to hold a lot inside. Our feelings and longings go into hiding and atrophy when we’ve given up on them. We shut down our vulnerability, or worse, we turn against it in an attempt to erase all vestiges of being a vulnerable human being. Sadly, when we don’t turn toward each other for support, reassurance, and encouragement, we isolate ourselves. We succumb to the emptiness that derives from removing ourselves from the fabric of life.

We’re wired with a need for human connection. When that need goes unmet, we may give up and seek secondary gratifications, such as for power, fame, or money, which don’t really fill our emptiness or satisfy our deepest yearnings. Or we turn to various addictions to distract us from our painfully unmet longing.

Consequently, we may then lose sensitivity not only to ourselves, but also to the plight of others. This is a sad state of affairs, especially when those in leadership positions promote policies that increase divisiveness and dissociation from our humanity.

Begin with Generosity Toward Yourself

Being generous toward others begins by developing a generous presence toward ourselves. Rather than judge and criticize ourselves, we can cultivate a “caring, feeling presence” toward our feelings, as described by Focusing teachers Dr. Edwin McMahon and Dr. Peter Campbell. We’re then well positioned to extend attention toward others’ experience.

Meaningful relationships are nourished by the generosity of attending to others. How deeply do you listen to people when they are sharing something important to them — hearing not just the words, but also the feelings beneath their words and stories? How attuned are you to their felt experience? Do you notice your attention wandering or preoccupied with any of the following:

  • Preparing your response?
  • Finding things to criticize?
  • Turning the conversation toward your own thoughts or feelings?
  • Struggling to find something to say to make them feel better or feeling badly that you don’t know how to respond?

It’s natural for our attention to wander, but the generous art of listening means sustaining our full attention toward our partner or friend as they’re sharing something personal or difficult. This is not about fixing their problem or telling them what to do. It’s simply about extending your caring, feeling presence toward someone who is struggling. It’s about listening with the ear of the heart, as St. Benedict put it.

What could be more generous and healing than opening our ears and heart to how another is experiencing life right now? Listening is the doorway to the connections we seek. It is the salve that soothes our disconnectedness and eases our isolation.

Listening can open a door to being heard. When a person feels heard, they feel cared about. They feel less alone. They feel more connected. By creating a climate where others experience your generous attention, they are likely to appreciate you, feel drawn toward you, and come to care about you. If you want to be heard, begin by listening. It’s a powerful practice to give to others what we’d like to receive from them.