Perry man pleads guilty to stalking and harassing estranged wife

LOGAN — A 28-year-old Perry man accused of stalking and threatening his estranged wife was able to avoid a possible prison sentence, after accepting a plea deal from state prosecutors.

Matthew Benson pleaded guilty in 1st District Court Tuesday morning to stalking and criminal trespass, both amended from third-degree felonies to class A misdemeanors. Two additional charges were dismissed.

Prosecutor Barbara Lachmar said Benson went to his wife’s home on the morning of November 5, because he believed she was with another man. He was armed with a handgun at the time.

When Benson didn’t find the man at the home, he followed his wife to her workplace, where he threatened to harm him. He was later arrested by Cache County Sheriff’s deputies and booked into jail.

As part of Tuesday’s plea agreement, attorneys for both sides recommended Benson be placed on probation for one-year and forfeit the handgun that he used at the time of the incident. He would also be prohibited from possessing a firearm except while working on a ranch in Idaho. Finally, he would be ordered to serve two days in jail but be given credit for the one day he already served.

Judge Brian Cannell said he would go along the plea but warned Benson that if he violated the terms of the agreement, he would face a harsher penalty.

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