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.
- Local News
Commissioners discuss temporary fix to courthouse air conditioning issues
The Board of Stephens County Commissioners held an emergency meeting Thursday to find a temporary solution for cooling off the courthouse, until a new system can be installed. Commissioners approved a temporary solution from Allied Services in Ardmore and will rent an air conditioning unit for $10,000 for the first month and $7,000 for the second month. The commissioners estimate it will take about two months for any company to get a new Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system in stock.
DPS administrators discuss inclement weather procedures
On Thursday, Duncan school administrators participated in a district-wide de-briefing to discuss how Monday’s reaction to a tornado threat went at each school. Superintendent Sherry Labyer said the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Labyer said the school district will look to improve its procedures.
Substitute teacher saves special education students from tornado
When the F-5 tornado did its damage at Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore on Monday, and after the silence had passed, one little boy looked at his teacher and asked where his backpack was.
“I don’t know, but we’ll look for it later,” Joy Hendrix said to him.
A celebration of faith and unity
There was a sense of celebration and appreciation throughout the J.M Carey Fieldhouse Thursday night in Velma.With the graduation ceremony commencing for the Velma-Alma High School Class of 2013, came an assortment of emotions, all telling a story.In total 31 students walked the stage to receive their diplomas on the evening.
Velma native runs only to discover home annihilated
Stuck in traffic trying to get to his home, Roger Graham decided he might as well park the car and run. A Moore resident, the accountant, dressed in casual business attire, didn’t think twice about the distance.
“It was two miles,” he said. “I just took off.” His wife, Kalissa, a school teacher, was right behind him.
Duncan students to remain in school Tuesday, Wednesday
When Duncan seniors cross the stage tonight, they won’t necessarily be done with high school.Duncan students will go to school Tuesday and Wednesday, following a three-day weekend for Memorial Day. DHS Assistant Principal Merry Stone said those two days are regular school days for students.
Moore Tornado Showcases Advancements in Warnings
Despite the utter devastation left in the wake of the massive tornado that tore through Moore, Okla. on Monday, the deadly storm, in many ways, helped showcase how far scientists have come in providing communities early tornado warning signs.
ODOT efforts hampered by general public traffic
Oklahoma Department of Transportation is requesting that motorists avoid I-35 through Moore, S. 19th Street because the ramp is closed and emergency and clean-up crews are hampering their efforts.
National EMS Week shines spotlight on rescue workers
The Air Evac helicopter was sitting on the helipad at Duncan Regional Hospital Wednesday, but not for emergency reasons.
National EMS Week, May 19-25, is about connecting with the community and the Air Evac Lifeteam was doing just that.
“Every base we have is doing something like this during the week,” said Heather Taylor, Air Evac program director. “We want to show appreciation to our community.”
Restaurant rumors remain on the hot plate
From IHOP and HomeTown Buffet to Chili’s and Olive Garden, restaurant whisperings have been running rampant in the community since the arrival of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.
Although there are a few open spaces such as the old Golden Corral location and the soon-to-close Honda site, none of these rumors can be confirmed at this point according to Chris Deal, Duncan Chamber of Commerce president. No information on any of the businesses’ websites points to them opening a new location in the area.
- More Local News Headlines
- Commissioners discuss temporary fix to courthouse air conditioning issues