In its case against Miles Sterling Bench, the State of Oklahoma presented eight witnesses and 10 items of evidence.
The preliminary hearing for Bench, 21, took place Tuesday. Bench is facing a First Degree Murder with Deliberate Intent charge for the death of 16-year-old Velma girl Braylee Henry. Henry was murdered June 6 in Velma, and Bench was arrested June 7 in Custer County. Bail was denied for Bench in June, and he has remained in custody since his arrest.
At the end of Tuesday’s preliminary hearing, Special District Judge Jerry Herberger bound Bench over for a Nov. 29 arraignment. The state was represented by District Attorney Jason Hicks and Assistant District Attorney Leah Edwards, while the defense counsel included Gary Henry and Bobby Lewis.
The majority of the state evidence entries were photos relating to the night of the murder. Among these entries were photos of Braylee’s vehicle, a tag to her vehicle, the store Teepee Totem (which is where Braylee was allegedly murdered), and a pool of blood discovered at Teepee Totem.
Some of the evidence entries pertaining to Bench himself included photos of Bench’s face, his hands, the shorts he was wearing, and his lower calf and shoe. State witness Kendell Brown, who had been a detention officer for the Custer County Sheriff’s Department at the time of Bench’s arrest, explained the importance of some of these photos.
Brown said the photo of Bench hands showed swelling. Brown and fellow witness Carver County Sheriff Deputy Quinton Short said Bench complained about his hands hurting, stating one of his hands might have a bone chip.
Brown also touched on the photo of the shorts, and the lower calf and shoe. Brown said both of these had stains of a reddish-brown substance.
Another item the state submitted as state’s evidence was a CD, which contained a audio recording of Bench being booked into the Custer County Jail. Brown said he recorded the moment with his cell phone following some statements Bench allegedly made.
“He said he made a mistake and he might have killed someone,” Brown said.
Short said Bench made similar statements when he Short arrested him.
“He said he may have f***ed up; he may have killed someone,” Short said.
When Short was on the stand, he reviewed the photos of Braylee’s car and car tag, which he identified as being the vehicle Bench was driving when he pulled him over in Custer County.
Short said the vehicle had a large stain in the backseat, which was of interest to him. An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation photo of the stain appeared as a piece of state’s evidence, which Short was asked to review.
“There was a large amount of what appeared to be blood in the backseat of the vehicle,” Short said.
Although Braylee’s vehicle was reported stolen and the car’s OnStar was being tracked, Short said he pulled the vehicle over because it was moving more than 10 miles over the speed limit.
As a state witness, Short was asked to identify the driver of the vehicle. Short pointed to the defendant table and stated he was wearing an orange shirt. Bench, who was the only person wearing orange a the table, was in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit.
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Winter weather continues
Temperatures dropped to 10 degrees. Freezing rain and snow fell, covering roads and yards. Through all of it, one thing was certain: Winter weather had come to Duncan.
In fact, about 0.23 inches of precipitation fell between 10:30 a.m. Thursday and about 9 a.m. Friday. By Friday afternoon, snow drifts ranged from about 2 inches up to 4 inches. And high temperatures leveled out at 25 degrees.
Museum on track for holidays
Although watching car after car go by while waiting for the caboose to pass at a railroad crossing is usually inconvenient, there is something almost mesmerizing about a model train going round and round a track.
In the past, many a family Christmas tree was accompanied by a model train at its base. In Duncan, one woman set up an entire Christmas village, complete with train, at her home and opened it up to the public. That scene has now been recreated by the Stephens County Historical Museum.
Duncan FD battles blaze
Snow fell Friday, but Duncan firefighters stayed warm by the heat of a structure fire.
About 10 firefighters responded to a blaze around 10:30 a.m. Friday in the 100 block of South Fourth Street. A structure, just south of Main Street, was fully involved.
The building was across Fourth Street from Southwest Foods. The fire was contained to the one building.
Abigail Smith sends her final goodbye through online video
Though a community is grieving this weekend over the loss of Abigail Smith, those who knew her the best, know she is free from the pain of cancer.
Abigail was diagnosed in early 2012, with Synovial Cell Sarcoma, but “won” her battle early Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Some people may not see her death as a win, but Abigail, 24, never wavered in her mission to live life to its fullest. She always exuded the positive message of being a survivor.
Armitstead tackles next challenge at Christians Concerned
Barbara Armitstead came out of retirement to lend help to one of Duncan’s non-profit ventures.
Armitstead is the new executive director of Christians Concerned. Her first day with the United Way agency was Monday. She’s taking over the position recently vacated by Kassie Gilmore.
“I’m very excited about it,” Armitstead said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”
City Council to discuss possible improvement for Data Center
To improve the City of Duncan’s Data Center, the Duncan City Council may approve purchasing a server virtualization solution.
This purchase, if approved, would improve the performance and capacity of the Data Center. The server virtualization solution would cost $76,003.17 and would be purchased from CDW Logistics.
Golden Corral building remains vacant
In November 2012, Duncan’s Golden Corral closed its doors, leaving its building vacant on U.S. Highway 81.
More than a year later, the building still doesn’t have a new business. And it’s not the only building in such a condition. Buildings previously home to Hastings Entertainment and Goodies also remain vacant.
The gift of giving
Many young people have made out their list for Christmas, however, 11 Duncan Middle School students recently experienced the joy of giving rather than receiving.
Before Christmas each year, Love in Action, an organization through Eastside Church of Christ, makes aprons out of holiday themed fabric to take to nursing homes. This year, the group wasn’t able to purchase the fabric.
Jimmy’s Egg to arrive in March
Jimmy’s Egg is coming to Duncan.
In March, the breakfast and lunch restaurant will be taking over the old Legacy Bank location, just south of the Legacy Bank on U.S. Highway 81. This adds to other recent restaurant chains that have moved into Duncan in the past 12 months, including national chain Applebees Neighborhood Grill & Bar and Oklahoma chain Interurban.
Revolvers and Rhinestones to offer mounted shooting clinic
Cowboy mounted shooting is a fast-growing sport in the United States and now the Duncan community has the opportunity to learn skills from the best.
Revolvers and Rhinestones is presenting a Cowboy Mounted Shooting Clinic Dec. 20 with instructor Curt Moore. Beginning shooters, who have never shot off their horse, will be from 1-3 p.m. and intermediate shooters, who want to refine their skills, will be from 3-5 p.m. at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center.
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- Winter weather continues