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April 15, 2014

Competency hearing begins in Bench case

DUNCAN —  A hearing to determine if Miles Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for murder began Monday in Stephens County District Court.

Bench, 23, of Velma, is charged in the death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry, who was bludgeoned to death in 2012  in a Velma convenience store.

Her body was found was found near Bench’s grandparents’ property in Velma.

 Bench’s first-degree murder case was scheduled for trial this month, but his competency hearing has delayed his trial until at least August.

Much of the first day of the competency hearing was spent in jury selection. It wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. the prosecution and defense were able to make their opening statements.

By the end of the court day, the defense had called it first witness, jail administrator Dallas Cowen. Cowen didn’t make it far into her testimony before the hearing recessed. When court reconvenes Wednesday, the State of Oklahoma will get an opportunity to cross-examine Cowen.

 

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