A former FBI agent was sentenced Thursday to 23 years in prison for trying to kill his estranged wife after she began an affair with crime novelist Patricia Cornwell.
Eugene Bennett lured his wife into a darkened church last summer and threatened to blow her up in a scheme that involved a minister bound, blindfolded and used as bait.
Marguerite Bennett, also a former FBI agent, foiled the plan when she squirted her husband with pepper spray and fired a gun at him. The “bombs” he wrapped on the minister’s body turned out to be Play-Doh but police later found bomb components scattered around the church.
Circuit Judge Richard Potter reduced the 61-year sentence recommended by the jury that convicted Bennett of attempted murder in February. He agreed with Bennett’s lawyers that the scheme was so bizarre that it could not have been concocted by a rational man.