The District Attorney’s Office has filed notice that it intends to seek a sentence of life without parole if Edward Joseph Benesch II is convicted of the March death of 18-month-old Somarah Smith. Benesch is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 16 on two counts of felony murder and one count each of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect. A felony murder conviction carries possible sentences of life with the possibility of parole, life without parole or the death penalty. On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Carey Thompson filed notice in Dickson County Circuit Court that the state will seek the increased punishment of life without parole if Benesch is convicted. The notice cites as enhancing factors the fact that the victim was under the age of 12, the murder was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death” and that Benesch has previous felony convictions. According to a court filing, Benesch was convicted of possession of marijuana for resale in 2012 and aggravated assault and two counts of sale of marijuana in 2005. The notice also says these convictions will be used to impeach his testimony should Benesch take the stand in his trial. While caring for two of his girlfriend’s children, Benesch claims he tripped over a cat and fell on Somarah, but did not seek medical assistance for her because he was drunk, according to testimony at his preliminary hearing. The next day Benesch dropped the children off at the home of his girlfriend’s aunt, who discovered the infant was not breathing and had already turned blue. Efforts to revive the child failed and Benesch was arrested later that day. He remains in the Hickman County Jail on $75,000 bond.