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Bench found competent once again

DUNCAN, Okla._On the second anniversary of the brutal death of a young girl in Velma, the accused killer is being declared competent to stand trial.

Miles Bench learned yet again that he would face trial for a 2012 murder that ended the life of 16-year-old Braylee Henry. Since his arrest, Bench has been found competent to stand trial multiple times.

As you can imagine, the mood was tense in the courtroom as the defense and the state called their witnesses. Once again, Bench’s competency has come into question and once again, the state and Braylee's family were unsure if her accused killer would be tried.

"It's my belief that he is competent and that we should be moving towards trial," said Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks.

The defense called their only witness via telephone, a psychologist who met with Bench over a separate matter in May. He said, in that meeting, he found Bench to be incompetent because his logic and judgment was skewed and also believed Bench needed to be in a medical facility. The psychologist believed Bench could be suffering from schizophrenia.

But a witness for the state, a jail administrator, who interacted with Bench on a day-to-day basis, said she saw no sign's that would prove Bench's behavior was abnormal.

"That he had improved. That he was now eating. That he was functioning, continuing to read, taking showers and doing things a normal inmate would do," said Hicks about Bench’s behavior.

While in jail, Bench lost 25 pounds when he stopped eating, but after his last competency check, his weight returned.

Following their testimony Friday, Judge Enos said Bench was competent; sending a sigh of relief throughout parts of the room.

"Yeah, I think they are relieved, knowing that we are not going to have to go back through the evaluation process and possibly have another trial on the issue of his competence. From that aspect, I think they are very relieved," said Hicks.

Miles Bench's trial is still set for August. He is charged with first-degree murder and faces the death penalty, if convicted.

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