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September 4, 2013

DA Hicks files for death penalty against Bench

DUNCAN — Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks is now formally seeking the death penalty for Miles Sterling Bench if he is convicted of killing 16-year-old Braylee Rae Henry of Velma.

Hicks has long signaled his intention to seek the death penalty against Bench, who is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing Henry on June 6, 2012, at the Tee Pee Totem convenience store in Velma where he worked as a clerk.

For months now, Bench, now 22, has been represented by attorneys who work for the state’s public defender system and handle death-penalty cases. Hicks’ office filed paperwork Wednesday that makes his pursuit of the death penalty official.

Bench is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge Thursday.

Court proceedings in Bench’s case were on hold for months as his attorneys pursued a possible determination that he was incompetent to stand trial. They dropped that pursuit last month.

Bench was arrested hours after Henry’s body was found in a pasture on the night of June 6, 2012. Police found a pool blood in a back room of the convenience store earlier that night.

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