The Murder of Greg Holman

When fourteen year old Greg Holman was reported missing in October 1978 from his Scottsdale Arizona home the police initially believed he was a runaway and they had their hands full as it was and seemingly just kind of brushed it off. In June of that year former Hogan's Heroes cast member, Bob Crane had been bludgeoned to death in Scottsdale and it appears that every officer in the department was still working to solve that case.  It is now 2017 and officially Bob Crane's murder is unsolved (and the man everyone believes did it not only died but was acquitted at trial many years later), and Greg Holman's murderer roams free.  Although, I should say in fairness Greg's case was solved, thirty years after it took place.  

The man who was ultimately convicted in the murder of Greg Holman was not a man at all in 1978 and some would argue never grew into a real man.  In 1978 Jon Douglas Benson was fourteen, just like Greg.  And once officers kind of got their heads out of their butts and figured out Greg was not a runaway they had Benson in their sight.  He was actually questioned in 1978, in 1981 (where he failed a lie detector case) and again in 1992 when a partial human skeleton was found under ground in the backyard of the home Benson was living in 1978. It still took until 2008 to get an indictment against him in the murder of Greg Holman.  Even still it appears that Benson took a plea deal and knew he would not get a lot of time because sentencing rules required that those used in 1978 be used and he was a minor at the time.  He would eventually receive a seven and a half year sentence for manslaughter.  He was released from prison in October of 2014 and is currently listed as "inactive" in the Arizona Department of Corrections.  It appears that he has been required to register as a sex offender (for another offense) but as far as the case involving Greg his has "done his time."

Everyone it seems knew that Jon Benson had done something to Greg Holman and it seems that many suspected what it was.  It had been widely reported that Greg had last been seen with Benson on the day of October 8, 1978. There has a been a long debate on exactly why they were even together at all.  Greg was a well liked, popular boy in the neighborhood who acted as the protector to many.  Jon Benson on the other hand had a very dark side and got into a lot of trouble. He was known as a bully and had a reputation for being violent.  One story is that a few weeks before he went missing Greg and a friend had "jumped" Jon for marijuana and money and that Jon killed him in revenge for that.  Others have speculated that Jon found out that Greg knew his deep dark secret and was going to "rat him out" and Jon stopped him by killing him. 

So, what was this secret?  It was well known among the kids that the Benson's had this huge hole in their back yard that was called a "fort."  This was about the only thing that made Benson cool.  Kids would go into the fort and drink and smoke marijuana and what teenager would not want that?  It is what else Benson did in that fort that not everyone enjoyed, or even knew about. Several men have come forward and stated that Benson had a habit of taking younger boys into the fort with him and molest them.  Speculation is that Greg may have caught wind of that, or at the very least Benson thought he may have and Greg was the type that he would have either exposed Benson himself or he would have handled it and odd were Benson would not be touching anyone else again.

Sometime in the early 1980's Arnold Benson, Jon's father, had gotten a back hoe and had filled in the fort.  Once again there is speculation as to why he did this.  Did he do it because he knew Jon's secret.... now two since Greg was gone? Did he do it because the "fort" was becoming an issue and with the alcohol involved could have caused more issues?  Or in fairness did he just not want a hole in his backyard anymore and thought maybe it was time for his son to grow up?

It would seem that for some reason that investigators were unaware of the fort until sometime in 1992 when they were informed by Greg's sister.  In December of 1992 investigators got permission from the current owners of the home to dig up the yard.  They found a headless, handless skeleton. It appears they knew it was human bones but DNA had not progressed enough to tell them just who it was.  Many had been angry that the case had not progressed in years and the discovery of the skeleton, without any arrested even made things worse. Everyone "knew" that skeleton belonged to Greg.  Even the police knew, but as they said in Law Abiding Citizen, "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove."

Scottsdale opened up their own Cold Case Unit in 2006 and one of their priorities was to open this case back up.  They were able to re-interview people and now DNA had progressed enough that using a sample of a family member of Greg's they would be able to test the skeleton found way back in 1992.  In 2008 those results proved to be Greg Holman.  It was not exactly surprising news to anyone, but it was one more nail in the coffin that investigators wanted for Benson.  Investigators went back to the former Benson home and decided to dig some more.  They still did not have a full skeleton.  It appears that little to nothing more was found.

However in October 2008 Jon Benson was indicted in the 2nd degree murder of Greg Holman.  He was not going anywhere soon anyway.  Benson was in jail serving a three and a half years on charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation.  

The only things sadder than the fact that Greg Holman lost his life, or that his murderer served so little time for his crime is the fact that Greg's mother died before his remains were even found, let alone identified.  It was said she spent her dying days and last breath wanting to know what happened to him.


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