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Mesa Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering Wife -- Told Cops Murder Was an Accident

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A Mesa man suspected of murdering his wife last month pled not guilty to second-degree murder yesterday, even though he admitted to police that he accidentally shot her.

Robert Benoit, 42, was arrested on October 30, about 60 miles from the Mexican border. That was after he called his mother to tell her he had just shot his wife, 37-year-old Joy Dockendorf, and that he was thinking about killing himself.

The mother called the cops, who responded to Benoit's house near Thomas and Recker Roads with the SWAT team. Benoit wasn't there, but Dockendorf's dead body -- complete with a gunshot wound to the neck -- was.

Police called Benoit on his cell phone and found out he was on his way to Mexico. He turned himself in near Huachuca City.

Benoit told police the shooting was an accident but the victim's sister told police Dockendorf was planning on leaving Benoit.

According to court documents, "the victim reported the fights between the couple were getting worse. The victim said the relationship was over because she was tired of dealing with the defendant's mood swings."

Benoit is being held on $90,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 29.

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