Neighbors in the Austin Arms apartments wouldn't go on camera with the East Texas News when asked about the big fight Joann Benton and her live-in boyfriend had Tuesday, but they told us Benton was fighting for her life when she stabbed him in the heart.
Faye Freeney said, "She didn't mess with nobody, but I did hear her say that she was tired of him whipping her and it's not the first time that he whipped her. People get tired; dogs get tired if you mistreat them so much."
Before the stabbing, the people who know Benton called her a quiet woman who was nice and friendly. They said she and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Robert Blanton, physically fought regularly and Tuesday's stabbing was a sign that she'd finally had enough of the abuse.
Her neighbors said the fight started after Benton came home and found underwear that did not belong to her in her bed.
Freeney said, "I was digging in the trash when she come around the corner and said 'that [expletive] was whipping me again. I'm tired of it'."
Police charged 44-year-old Benton with aggravated assault, but her friends and neighbors believe she was just defending herself after years of abuse.