- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The 70-year-old mother of a murdered Gladstone, Oregon, hair salon owner has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the dead woman’s husband, a former police officer in that community south of Portland.

Irene Berg is seeking $900,000 in damages in the suit filed Tuesday. She lives in Walnut Creek, California.

Former Gladstone Sgt. Lynn Benton’s murder trial is scheduled for February 2015. He was fired from the police department in December 2011. A grand jury indictment accuses Benton of plotting for more than a year to have Deborah Higbee Benton killed and offering to pay others to do it.

An autopsy showed that the woman had been shot, beaten and strangled. She was found dead in her beauty salon on May 28, 2011.

Lynn Benton underwent a female-to-male sex change about a year before marrying Higbee Benton. Authorities say Benton began plotting to kill the woman even before the marriage.

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