Chamberlayne Gardens Apts stabber will spend life in prison - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chamberlayne Gardens Apts stabber will spend life in prison

Benjamin Dancy (Source: Richmond Police) Benjamin Dancy (Source: Richmond Police)

A man who stabbed two women, killing one, in Richmond will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Benjamin Dancy, 51, pleaded guilty in May to killing 44-year-old Della Scott. Her best friend Carolyn Chapman was also stabbed, but survived. One official describes the attack as among the most brutal killings he's ever seen.

Under the plea agreement, Dancy agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to a 40-year term for that charge and 20 years for a malicious wounding charge, but also received life terms for each of two counts of robbery.

The sentencing guidelines called for a maximum of 54-and-a-half years in prison, but prosecutors asked the judge to go beyond the recommendations and the judge agreed to give Dancy the life sentences.

Bearing the scars that stare back at her in the mirror every day as a constant reminder of the brutal stabbings, Carolyn Chapman stared at Benjamin Dancy as she walked to and from the stand in court Tuesday. She said simply, "I forgive you."

"I wanted him to know that that day he defeated my friend, but not me," Chapman told us in her first television interview since the December incident. "If I didn't do anything else I had to be here to speak for her."

Chapman and Della Scott, who didn't survive the attack, weren't just friends--they were the closest of confidants. Bonded since high school, Scott was Chapman's maid of honor at her wedding and Chapman is the godmother to Scott's son. In fact, it was Chapman who got her friend the job at the apartments about three months before her death.

"I'll have to live with the fact that every day that it's because of me that she's gone," she lamented.

Chapman took us back in time to the moments she and Della fought for their lives.

"I actually remember him grabbing my face and I remember the very first cut," she recalled. "I can remember laying on the floor bleeding out."

Part of what the judge had to consider is Dancy's criminal history. In court, the prosecutor listed a rap sheet that starts when the defendant was just six-years-old. He was charged with assaulting a 12-year-old with a club. The history includes multiple offenses when Dancy was a juvenile and continues through 2011, before this latest incident.

 The 51-year-old's defense attorney said a difficult upbringing wasn't an excuse, but a mitigating factor. He asked for a punishment within the guidelines and a chance for his client to die outside of prison.

When asked if he had anything to say, Dancy apologized to Chapman and the family of Della Scott.

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