Chantel Ducheneaux charged with murder

Chantel Ducheneaux, 26, is accused of stabbing Taylor Benson, 24, to death on June 21 in Parshall on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Ducheneaux is charged in U.S. District Court with murder. A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday.

According to a court affidavit filed in U.S. District Court by FBI agent Bruce Bennett, Benson was found stabbed to death by Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Division of Drug Enforcement agents in a trailer in the Hilldale Trailer Court in Parshall at 9:40 p.m. Friday. They had heard a call over the police radio that there had been a stabbing there. Benson had been stabbed in the head and throat area and her skin was blue in places. A large kitchen knife was laying in plain view on a towel by the kitchen sink in the trailer. The knife appeared to have fluid, possibly blood, on it.

An investigator spoke with Kelly Leidholm, who had been inside the trailer house initially but who had been ordered to leave by law enforcement officers. Leidholm told the investigator that he, Taylor Benson, Cortnee Benson, and Casey Dickens had been together in the residence of Benson’s father, Royce Benson, at the trailer park about an hour before the stabbing. All of them were drinking, but Leidholm said they had not used drugs. Leidholm and Taylor Benson then left and walked over to a neighboring trailer, the residence of Monte Packineau. Leidholm told the investigator no one was in the trailer at the time. Leidholm told the officer that he drank some ice water at the table and then went into the restroom. Leidholm overheard two women arguing. When he came out of the bathroom he saw Taylor Benson lying on the kitchen/dining room area floor and Ducheneaux standing over Taylor Benson. He didn’t know if Ducheneaux had a knife in her hand at the time or if she had laid one down. After Leidholm confronted Ducheneaux, Ducheneaux ran out of the trailer. Leidholm rolled Taylor Benson over and saw blood on the floor. Leidholm then ran out of the trailer and yelled at a woman in an RV to call 911.

Benson’s father, Royce Benson, told investigators that someone called to tell him his daughter had been stabbed. He drove to the site of the stabbing and saw Ducheneaux standing outside the Packineau trailer. Taylor Benson’s father yelled at Ducheneaux, “Who stabbed Taylor?” Ducheneaux allegedly replied “I did” and then ran into the trailer house. Royce Benson chased her. As he was chasing Ducheneaux, Benson’s father saw his daughter lying unresponsive on the floor in the Packineau trailer and paused to call 911 on his cell phone.

Taylor Benson’s mother, Melissa Norris, told investigators that Ducheneaux had been engaged in a physical fight with Dickens earlier at the Packineau trailer house with Benson. Dickens allegedly struck Ducheneaux and then left the trailer house. The witness then saw Ducheneaux grab a knife from the kitchen drawer in the trailer that was the site of the stabbing. Ducheneaux allegedly said she was going to find Dickens. Norris told investigators that she had left the trailer and then went into an RV that had been located on the property and talked with someone. She overheard screaming and fighting coming from outside, near Packineau’s trailer, and saw Ducheneaux and Dickens having another physical fight. Norris told investigators that Dickens had returned to the trailer house after leaving. Two people stopped the fight between Dickens and Ducheneaux and Ducheneaux then went into the RV and talked with Taylor Benson’s mother, Norris. Ducheneaux allegedly asked whether Norris would be angry with her if she got into a fight with Taylor Benson. Taylor Benson’s mother responded that she would have a problem if the fight involved weapons. Ducheneaux eventually left the RV and Norris believed that she had left with two other women.

Norris left for a time and learned that her daughter had been stabbed when she returned to the premises.

Ducheneaux is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, according to the affidavit. Native Americans who are charged with murder are tried in U.S. District Court.