news from the Prosecutor's Office

Michael Benge Scheduled For Execution on October 6, 2010
February 19, 2010

Prosecutor Piper announces today that Butler County murderer, Michael Benge has been scheduled for execution on October 6, 2010.

In the early morning hours of February 1, 1993, Judith Gabbard’s car was found abandoned on the west side of the Great Miami River in a field near the city’s water treatment plant. After the car was towed in, smears of blood and blood spatters were observed on the car. Hamilton Police were called in and a search revealed the body of Judith Gabbard in the Great Miami River. A thirty-five pound piece of concrete had been placed on her head and chest area in an apparent effort to sink and conceal the body.

Judy Gabbard had been struck nearly a dozen times with a tire iron, leaving severe gashes about her head and face. Benge told witnesses that he and his girlfriend had "gotten into it" earlier, that it "blew over." Later he indicated that she was fighting with him and had tried to run him over with the car.

Despite the execution date, the Ohio Parole Board will still consider Benge’s application for clemency. All applications are reviewed and examined by the Board to determine the propriety of clemency, with a recommendation being forwarded to the Governor. Executive clemency can only be granted by the Governor. Most likely, Benge’s attorneys will be attempting to have the Governor lift the death sentence, and instead grant life in prison. The death penalty was given by a jury and independently reviewed by the Court. Benge has exhausted all of his state and federal appeals.

Prosecutor Piper, the prosecutor who tried the case, stated, “Benge lied to the police, lied to the jury, and is now attempting to mislead the Clemency Board by acting remorseful. He deserved the death penalty then and he deserves it now. Judy Gabbard was a beautiful, hard-working woman who would be with her family to this day, if not for the cold-blooded, very violent, brutality that Benge used to steal her life. I’ll fight the clemency proceedings tooth-and-nail, and if anyone saw what he did to Judy, they would understand why.”

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For more information contact the Prosecutor's Office at (513) 887-3474
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