Bench competent to stand trial
DUNCAN A Stephens County jury has decided that mental health issues won't prevent Miles Sterling Bench from standing trial for the 2012 murder of a Velma teen, Braylee Henry.
After less than an hour's deliberation Thursday morning, the jury of five women and one man unanimously decided that Bench is competent to stand trial. Only a majority of jurors was needed to determine the 23-year-old Velma man's competence.
"I'm very proud of the jury. They did their job," said District Attorney Jason Hicks. "They were very attentive and I really appreciate their service. It was obvious they listened intently and rendered a verdict consistent with what was presented in the courtroom."
With the decision, Hicks has said he will seek the death penalty for Bench.
The jury began its duties Monday and over the past three days was inundated with testimony from two doctors who conducted three of the competency exams with Bench since June of last year. He has been ruled competent to stand trial twice before in August and December 2013. He was scheduled to begin his criminal jury trial Monday, but his lawyers filed an application for competency determination in February. Bench was later transported to Vinita for a competency exam on March 13.