FAIRMONT - A case that stretched out nearly three years reached its conclusion Monday when Douglas Bennett was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison.
Bennett is the man who attacked an elderly couple in their rural Truman farmhouse in June 2008. The case was stretched out because of Bennett's hospitalizations and two different defense arguments.
Bennett's first attorney, Gary Wollschlager, argued Bennett suffered an involuntary intoxication. But last spring, Bennett changed to public defenders Troy Timmerman and Darci Bentz, who argued it was a mental illness that caused Bennett's psychotic state of mind on the night he attacked Elmer and Marcella Sauck.
The case went to trial twice. In October, a local trial ended with a hung jury and mistrial. A second trial that took place in February in Blue Earth County resulted in a guilty verdict.
At sentencing Monday morning, members of the Sauck family were allowed to read statements. Many complained that Bennett had not shown any remorse for his actions and that the sentence was not tough enough.
"We know he would have killed them both," said Mark Sauck, who brought the attack to a halt by shooting Bennett in the leg.
Along with sharing in the couple's physical and emotional trauma, family members faced their own trauma because of the attack.
"Out of the things I remember, I remember seeing my grandmother, beaten, bruised, bleeding from both eyes, taking off the watch from her broken wrist, the wrist that Doug Bennett broke," said Todd Sauck. "He's robbed me of the security of the house I grew up in. He's robbed me of hundreds if not thousands of hours of sleep. It's heartbreaking and sickening."
Bennett also read a prepared statement, in which he expressed remorse.
"Now that I am finally able to offer an apology, I can say that I truly am sorry for the heartache and the pain that's been brought to your family," Bennett said. "I know that there is nothing I can say or do to undo what happened, but I do hope that someday you can find a way to forgive me."
Judge Robert Walker also offered a statement on the case.
"In the 22 years I've been on the bench, this will be the case that I will likely remember until I no longer can," he said. "In light of what happened, there were three miracles that happened that night in June 2008: neither of the Saucks passed away, and also that Bennett was not fatally shot, and that Mark Sauck was showing some restraint. or else Mr. Bennett would not be here today."
Walker said the court was bound by sentencing guidelines and thus not able to impose an upward departure from the sentence.
Bennett will receive 322 days of credit for time served while he was held at the St. Peter mental treatment facility and the time he spent in jail. He was not given credit for time spent on home-monitoring.