Sunday, April 24, 2005

April 21, 2005

...this is a bad one...

Last Meal: Benefiel requested one large pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, black olives and tomatoes; One 12-inch Italian beef sandwich with cheese; Four pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream: Butter Pecan, Cherry Garcia, New York Super Fudge Chunk and Oatmeal Cookie Chunk; One Dutch apple pie; Six cans of RC cola; Six cans of Pepsi cola.

The skinny: Benefiel was executed for killing a teenage girl by forcing instant glue up her nose and taping her mouth shut after 12 days of rape and torture.

More skinny: Note: We have omitted many of the heinious details of this crime. A site called has a more complete picture. It is just too much for us. A 17-year old woman was kidnapped on the way to a store two blocks from her home by Benefiel, who was armed with a gun and wearing a mask. She was tied-up and gagged, driven to Benefiel’s home and taken inside.

During 4 months of captivity inside Benefiel’s home, she was raped and sodomized over 60 times at gunpoint. Most of this time she was chained and handcuffed to a bed. He glued her eyelids shut, put tape over her eyes, and toilet paper in her mouth. She was cut with a knife and beaten.

After 3½ months, she saw a second girl in the home. The second girl was naked and handcuffed on the bed, with tape over her eyes and mouth. Later she saw Benefiel beat the second girl and put superglue in her nose, then pinch it together. Benefiel left the home for 2 hours and upon his return, confessed that he had killed and buried the second girl. When police knocked on the door, Benefiel stuffed the girl into a ceiling crawl space. The police entered with a search warrant and rescued her. The body of the victim was found soon after in a wooded area.

He was sentenced to death in 1988 after a jury found him guilty of murder, rape, criminal confinement and deviant conduct. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his lawyers in the ensuing years said he suffered from mental illness but the courts ordered the execution to proceed.

Last words and such: When asked for a final statement, Benefiel said, "No, let's get this over with. Let's do it."

Other than select members of the three teams conducting the execution, only one person witnessed the execution. Benefiel had the final say in who will be allowed to witness his lethal injection.

"We're the only state in the U.S. that does it that way," said aspokesman for the prison, said Tuesday. Other states make other provisions, he said, but in Indiana, the convict makes the choice.

Benefiel agreed to not having an autopsy done and will be cremated.

Prison officials conduct autopsies on executed prisoners so claims cannot be made that the prisoner was abused or died of something other than chemical injection.

Factoids: Benefiel was the...

16th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
960th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Indiana in 2005
13th murderer executed in Indiana since 1976
The 87th Hoosier executed since 1897.

About 25 people gathered outside the prison Wednesday night to protest the execution. The demonstration started with a candlelight vigil with people speaking against the death penalty, then they marched carrying signs in front of the prison for about half an hour. "Our hope is to bring awareness to the atrocities of executions," said the Rev. Tom Mischler of St. Mary of the Lake in Gary. "In this case we want to bring attention to the fact that the person being executed has a mental illness." He said while Benefiel's actions are monstrous, the person who committed them wasn't.

Rick Richards brought his 7-year-old daughter to see the vigil. "She was just curious about what was going on," Richards said. "She's having a hard time grasping, 'Why are we doing this?"'

If the folks had any concern for the victim or what their feelings would be if their 7-year old daughter were put through a similair ordeal, it was not reported.

The victim's mother and her children waited inside the prison, they could hear the demonstrators' drum beats. Demonstrators beat the drums as a symbolic protest against executions as society's idea of justice. "I could never feel joy over somebody dying," she said, but added that the protesters should just stay away. "Until they've walked a mile in our shoes - lost a family member - they should just stay home," she said.