AUSTIN -- Police have arrested a man accused of cutting a woman's throat in a South Austin H-E-B parking lot last month.
Around 1:30 a.m. on May 20, a woman was walking to her car with groceries at the H-E-B near South Congress and Oltorf when 49-year-old Edward Roy Bennett slashed her throat and stole her purse, police said. A security guard at the store took off his reflective vest and helped stop the bleeding.The woman was rushed to University Medical Center-Brackenridge and survived.
According to police, Bennett ran away toward the employee parking lot, and police later found the woman's purse near a storage container on a nearby property.
Two days later, police got a big break in the case.
"Our detectives were contacted by a parole officer who was concerned about a parolee under his supervision who had absconded. This person had been under intense supervision which means they wore a GPS monitor on their ankle and they were required to live in a transitional housing center," said Sgt. T.J. Vineyard with the Austin Police Robbery Unit.
The parole officer added Bennett was unaccounted for since just before 6 p.m. May 19 and said he had been threatening other people at the transition center where he was staying. The parole officer told police Bennett had a violent history, frequently using sharp-edged weapons and including one manslaughter incident. Police issued a warrant for parole violation.
Police tracked down Bennett on May 23 at Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. Police said he changed the color of his hair and lied to police, saying his name was Mario from Mexico.
According to police, Bennett began talking about robbery victims, telling officers they should "put it out there to the public that they should just do what a robber says and give them what they want so that it would save police from having to go looking for a dead body and that instead we would be able to just get a report from a victim," an arrest affidavit states.
Bennett also reportedly told police he was thinking of killing a guard when he returns to the Texas Department of Corrections and explained where the carotid artery is located, saying he knows because the artery is "something he has struck at more than once," the affidavit states.
Bennett told police he stole items from various H-E-B and Walmart locations while he was away from the transition center, including the store on South Congress where the attack happened, according to the affidavit. Police said he discussed how he previously has stabbed people in the neck and throat and demonstrated for police, which police said was consistent with the way the woman was attacked in the H-E-B parking lot.
Police eventually matched Bennett's palm prints to a bloody print recovered from the victim's purse.
Bennett is currently in custody charged with attempted capital murder. His bond is set at $1 million.
"It was pretty freaky, but things like that don't happen here too much," said shopper Chris Nall, who said she frequents the area near the South Austin H-E-B. "It's great that they caught him because you know sometimes when somebody does stuff like that they will come back in the area and do it again."
Bennett had just been released from prison in February. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles explained they let him out because he became eligible back in November and he completed specialized programs while behind bars. He has convictions for homicide, aggravated assault, burglary and dangerous drugs.
In the 1980s he stabbed and killed a man in North Texas. A year later he broke into a home, attacked a person on the couch, then assaulted a woman sleeping upstairs and knocked her unconscious.
Records also show Bennett stabbed a correctional officer twice in the face in the 1990s.