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Local News

June 12, 2012

No bond set, Bench remains in custody

Suspect held on first degree murder charges

DUNCAN — Miles Sterling Bench, 21, of Velma, appeared Monday just before noon, in Stephens County District Court for the first time and was officially charged with murder in the first degree in the death of Braylee Rae Henry, 16, of Velma.

On behalf of the victim and the state of Oklahoma, Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks asked that no bond be set for Bench.

Judge Jerry Herberger granted the request and after hearing Hicks statements, said he believed there was sufficient evidence to hold Bench without bond. Herberger also cited public safety as an additional factor to hold Bench in the Stephens County Jail.

Several members of Henry’s family were in the courtroom to hear the state present its charges against Bench. Hicks addressed the missing persons reports that had been filed that night, evidence found in the back room of the store, and also items found in Henry’s car. Bench is also being charged with larceny of an automobile.

The family remained quiet as they also heard as Hicks shared evidence surrounding Henry’s death.

Hicks said a missing person report had been filed on the evening of June 6, for the clerk of the Tee Pee Totem convenience store in Velma. That report was for Bench and Hicks said officers found a pool of blood about 18-inches in diameter in the back room of the store. During the investigation, a second report came in, which was for Henry.

Hicks told the court that officers then went to the home of Bench’s grandparents. It was in a secluded area near that home where Henry’s body had been found, through the use of the SCSO K9 tracking dog, Banjo.

Two things led to the quick discovery of Henry, Sheriff Wayne McKinney said, after the courtroom hearing. One was that a witness had seen Henry’s vehicle traveling east on State Highway 7. The other was a video surveillance tape from another Velma business that backed up what the witness had seen and reported.

Additionally, Hicks said Bench had provided unsolicited comments when he was arrested by Custer County Sheriff’s Office deputies, near Weatherford, and again in the presence of DA Task Force Supervisor Justin Scott.

“I think I (expletive) up. I think I killed somebody earlier tonight,” Hicks said Bench had shared while in custody at Custer County. That statement was also in the report filed by the state.

Hicks said blood was also found in the vehicle and on Bench, the alleged suspect.

“Further investigation items found in the vehicle were peroxide, haircolor, razors and a change of clothes. We believe he was trying to flee not only Stephens County, but also the state of Oklahoma,” Hicks said.

Prior to Hicks presenting his evidence for denial of bond, Herberger informed Bench that he would be represented by attorney Don Herron, only for the purpose of the formal charges. He indicated that Bench did want to complete the paperwork to be considered for court-appointed counsel.

Bench’s next court appearance is a preliminary hearing set for 9 a.m. Aug. 13.

McKinney said that he has requested that reports from the medical examiner and OSBI be expedited and expects initial reports to be completed this week.

“Out of respect for her family, I don’t want to release a lot of details. We are trying to be sensitive to their feelings,” he said.

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