WASHINGTON, Washington County — Prosecutors say a 76-year-old man killed his wife by beating her to death with a hammer.

David Keith Benson was charged Thursday with murder, a first-degree felony, in 5th District Court. He is accused of killing his wife, Madelin Benson, also 76, in their home at 2188 S. Alamosa Drive in Washington City.

Newly released court documents outline a very violent crime scene.

A family member called 911 to report he had received a call from Benson on Wednesday saying that he had killed his wife. Madeline Benson's body was found in the kitchen. David Benson had blood spatter on his face and clothing, according to the charges.

Benson struck his wife in the back of the head with a hammer and then "repeatedly in the face" after she dropped to the floor, charging documents state. "David kept saying he didn't know why he did it."

Police noted in court documents that Benson was "having continual homicidal thoughts toward others and toward himself."

Bail was set at $500,000 cash only.

Pat Reavy

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam