Missoula woman sentenced for 2019 fatal stabbing

Zoe Buchli

A Missoula woman was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the state — with initial placement at the Montana State Hospital — for entering a man’s apartment and fatally stabbing him in November 2019.

Nancy Leann Wright, who was 47 at the time of the stabbing, pleaded guilty while mentally ill in May to one count of mitigated deliberate homicide. She was initially charged with deliberate homicide, which was replaced with a mitigated homicide charge because of mental health issues she was experiencing at the time of the attack.

Wright and the victim, Phillip “Phil” Benjamin, were neighbors at the Parkside Village apartments on Stephens Avenue South and Higgins Avenue, where the stabbing occurred.

Benjamin would now be 44, Missoula County Chief Deputy Attorney Matt Jennings said at a sentencing hearing Tuesday. His family testified about his loving and resilient personality.

“He was kind and gentle and looked out for those that were, to him, in need. He stood up to bullies and those that tried to take advantage of others,” Ann Benjamin, Phillip’s mom, said. “Our hearts are heavy with grief and sorrow that someone so decent lost his life in such a tragic way. We think

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