Barbara “Lewis” Scott, 64, of 200 S. Goodman Ave. in Lake Alfred, was charged with first degree murder in the death of her 78-year-old husband, Benny Scott.
The couple had lived in Oklahoma before moving to Florida in 2009. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office noted that Barbara Scott had a past criminal record in that state. She got arrested in Oklahoma in 1987 on embezzlement charges, was convicted, and given five years in prison. According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website, she was convicted on March 17, 1988 and served time in a state prison.
She could be facing a similar fate in Florida. After detectives dug up her husband’s body, autopsy results showed that Benny Scott had been shot in the back of the head, and the victim’s hands and legs were bound by ropes.
“The projectile recovered inside the victim’s skull was consistent with a .22 caliber projectile,” noted Donna Wood, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in her release on the arrest. “The death was ruled a homicide by the Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Barbara Scott didn’t help her case, Wood noted, by changing her version of what had happened so many times. She was taken into custody on Tuesday, April 10, and was booked into the Polk County Jail.
The investigation started on March 26, when Scott’s daughter, Sonya Braudway, brought her mother to the Lake Alfred Police Department. Barbara Scott told LAPD officers her husband was buried in their back yard. Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives were contacted, and the two agencies started a joint investigation. Benny Scott’s body was found the next day.
The initial investigation revealed that Barbara Scott had told her daughter and son-in-law that Benny Scott had gone to Oklahoma to visit a sick friend. However, her daughter got suspicious because when friends and family in Oklahoma called asking to speak to Benny Scott, Barbara Scott had been telling them her husband was sick with a throat ailment and couldn’t speak on the phone.
“When she confronted her mother, Barbara told her daughter that sometime in January 2012, Benny had fallen while in the shower, hit his head and died,” Wood said. “Barbara told her daughter she buried Benny in the back yard in the garden.”
But while being interviewed by investigators, Barbara Scott changed her story and added new details to it several times. She started by claiming her husband had fallen in the shower, and later said she had found Benny on the shower floor along with a gun on the floor, Wood said.
“She later said she ‘remembered’ she had wrapped Benny in a tarp prior to burying him,” Wood said.
She later admitted to having tied her husband’s hands and feet before she buried him, and that she had put a plastic bag over his head as well.
Investigators found Benny Scott’s body buried in the east portion of the back yard, near the back door of their home in a grave about two feet deep underneath an herb garden.
After initially insisting that her husband had fallen and hit his head, Barbara Scott told detectives she found Benny lying on the shower floor, and noticed a gun next to him.
“Ms. Scott said she assumed when she saw the gun, that Benny used it to shoot himself,” Wood said. “She said she checked for a pulse and realized Benny was dead. She then said she began to panic. Ms. Scott said she dragged Benny on a bathroom rug to the garage, where she left him for approximately three days. She said she then dragged Benny from the garage to the back yard, where she buried him in a hole that was previously dug for a garden. At some point Ms. Scott planted herbs over the victim’s body.”
barbara Scott also told detectives she had picked the gun up from the bathroom floor along with a box of ammunition, wrapped it up in a towel and concealed it in her underwear drawer. During the search of the home, detectives found a .22 caliber revolver and a box of .22 caliber ammunition.
Wood noted that detectives also interviewed others who knew the couple, and were told that Barbara Scott had complained about always having to care for her husband, who needed constant assistance.