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9:06 PM Mon, Jan. 21st

Homicide suspect arraignment continued

KINGMAN ­ The arraignment for a Golden Valley man arrested on June 22 for two murders in Kingman was continued in Mohave County Superior Court to allow time for a public defender to be assigned to the case.

Robert Ronald "Bull" Benjamin, 43, of Golden Valley faces two Class 1 felony first-degree murder charges, one count of felony theft of means of transportation, one felony count of theft and a felony weapons offense.

Judge Steven Conn said Darcy Downs-Vollbracht of the Mohave County Public Defender's Office is the second attorney to show up in court with Benjamin, but neither had been assigned to handle his case. Conn told Benjamin a public defender is being assigned to him for all future appearances, and he continued Benjamin's arraignment to July 25.

He asked Benjamin if he had anything he wanted to say to the court, then advised the defendant that any attorney assigned to him undoubtedly would advise Benjamin to remain silent.

"The first thing he would say is 'don't open your mouth,'" because anything the defendant said in court could be used against his case, Conn said.

The judge said Benjamin will receive copies of all police reports pertinent to his case, along with all of the charges against him, and he set Benjamin's bond at $250,000, "a very high ... total secured appearance bond," because of the seriousness of the charges and to assure the defendant shows up for all of his scheduled court appearances.

If Benjamin is found guilty of the two first-degree murder charges, he could be sentenced to death, natural life or life, which requires the one found guilty to serve at least 25 calendar years in the Department of Corrections. Any other guilty verdicts would add more penalties. Mohave County Sheriff's detectives arrested Benjamin on a felony warrant on June 22, charging him with two counts of homicide.

Kingman Justice Court had issued the warrant for Benjamin, charging him with two counts of first-degree murder, and Hoover Dam Police detained Benjamin at the dam as he attempted to cross from Nevada into Arizona. MCSO detectives drove to the dam, took Benjamin into custody and returned him to Kingman to be booked into Mohave County Jail.

Benjamin was sought as the prime suspect in the shooting deaths of Andrea Lynn Eklund, 34, and Robert Al Reichenbacker, 44, both of Kingman. The couple were found shot to death in the early morning hours of June 20 at a residence in the 4500 block of Marilyn Drive.

Witnesses told investigators they had seen Benjamin at the residence prior to the 1:47 a.m. call of gunshots that sent deputies and Kingman Police officers to the scene.