Jury: Mesa man guilty of murdering prostitutes

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) --  A jury has convicted a Mesa man on two counts of first degree murder and two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping in the rape and killing of two prostitutes and the sexual assault of two other women in attacks that he said stemmed from his rage about how much they were charging.

The jury returned the verdicts Monday against Trent Christopher Benson.

Maricopa County Superior Court says the jury will return Monday afternoon to begin the aggravation phase.

The jury also found Benson guilty of kidnapping and attempted sex assault.

During the trial, prosecutor Kirsten Valenzuela said that DNA evidence linked Benson to all four attacks, something police had previously said.

Benson was arrested in May 2008, just two days after police announced that they had connected two unsolved rape/murder cases and two recent kidnapping/sexual assault cases to a single suspect.

Prior to his 2008 arrest, Benson had a criminal history that included the solicitation of prostitutes.

One of the murder victims, Alisa Marie Beck, was found in an alley on Nov. 1, 2004. The second murder victim, Karen Jane Campbell, was found naked in the street on Oct. 24, 2007.

A month later, Benson picked up a homeless woman, offered her money for sex, and then beat her and left her unconscious along the road.

In the fourth attack, a woman fleeing Benson's house claimed that he had kidnapped, raped and photographed her.