Officials identify Tacoma man killed in hammer attack

A Tacoma man beaten to death with a hammer was identified Thursday as Clifford Bennett.

Bennett, 57, was one of two people beaten Tuesday with a ball-peen hammer inside his home in the 5800 block of East I Street. Medical examiners said he was hit five or six times in the face.

His 78-year-old mother was struck in both eye sockets and the face with the hammer, police said. She was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

On Wednesday, Nicholas Lane, 27, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

Lane was staying for several days in the home where Bennett, who was physically disabled, lived with his mother, Lane’s mother and another man.

Police were called to the house by a roommate and found Bennett on a bedroom floor and his mother in her recliner. Bennett died later that night at a hospital.

Lane told detectives the attack was an “accident,” according to charging papers, and his mother said he had been using drugs for three days leading up to the assault.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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