Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals withdraws opinion in Miles Bench case

The appeals court reversed Bench’s conviction earlier this year based on the Supreme Court’s...
The appeals court reversed Bench’s conviction earlier this year based on the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision.(KSWO)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT
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DUNCAN, Okla. (KSWO) - The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has withdrawn its opinion that reversed the murder conviction and death sentence of Miles Bench.

Bench was convicted in the 2012 murder of Braylee Henry in Velma.

The appeals court reversed Bench’s conviction earlier this year based on the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision. The McGirt decision ruled the state does not have jurisdiction over tribal lands or tribal suspects.

The court ruled just weeks ago in a separate case that the retroactive application of the McGirt ruling was inappropriate.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has filed to withdraw their order reversing Bench’s conviction as well, and that was granted Tuesday.

This reimposes the death sentence ruling handed down in Bench’s case after his trial in 2015.

“I am excited to see that the Court reconsidered its reversal of the Bench conviction and have reinstated his conviction and sentence of death,” District Attorney Jason Hicks said. “While I recognize that there are still hurdles in the way, this is a major step in seeing that justice is done in this case.”

Hicks said the ruling will likely be appealed by Bench, but added that he hopes the Federal Appellate Courts will stand by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision.

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