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The Bensons tried private counseling, even sent Bobby to a psychiatric hospital for a few weeks. But they felt they were flailing about in the dark, as Bobby reacted with hostility and sullen anger.


"He wasn't the kind of teen-ager who would yell and bang doors," said his mother. "He'd listen but then he'd go and do what he wanted to."


Trouble escalated. Bobby got into fights in intermediate school, didn't complete his school work, was suspended, then expelled. At the same time, he was arrested at least twice for burglary, and at 14 for attempted murder after a high-speed chase with a motorcycle officer.


The officer fell off his bike and sustained minor injuries when the car in which Bobby was riding with a friend collided with the bike, said Benson's father. Bobby maintained he wasn't driving, said his father, but the police report disagreed.


Bobby spent several weeks in Koolau Boys' Home, only to have the charge dismissed with prejudice. His crime history led a Family Court judge to prepare papers that would have sent the boy to Koolau until he was 18.


But the judge didn't serve those papers, said Maj. Benson, warning Bobby instead that he'd give him one more chance.


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