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Conestoga man pleads guilty to assisting his wife’s suicide

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LANCASTER — A Conestoga man pleaded guilty in Lancaster County Court to assisting his wife’s suicide in January, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Philip M. Benight, 61, was charged with a second-degree felony count of causing or aiding suicide, defined as an intentional aiding of another’s suicide or suicide attempt. He pleaded guilty on Friday.

Manor Township police say Benight removed his 72-year-old wife from her care home and adding a quantity of prescription pills to her pudding on Jan. 23. The woman had made previous statements about not wanting to live in her health condition, according to police.

Benight and his wife were later found unconscious in a vehicle at Benight’s home on Oak Road, police say. Officers treated them by administering Narcan, an overdose antidote, and CPR. The couple was then transported to a hospital for treatment.

The woman died a week later.

Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisley accepted Benight’s plea and will order a sentence in a few months, after a background check is completed.