|For Immediate Release
Case # 09HF1629
September 12, 2014
GRADUATE STUDENT SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE PLUS 25 TO LIFE IN STATE PRISON FOR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
SHOOTING-MURDER OF EX-WIFE OVER CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS
SANTA ANA – A graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) was sentenced today to life without the possibility of parole plus an additional 25 years to life in state prison for shooting and murdering his ex-wife outside of his campus apartment related to a dispute over child support payments. Brian Hughes Benedict, 40, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 7, 2014, of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and lying in wait with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. In addition to his prison sentence, Benedict was ordered to pay $191,000 in restitution to the victim’s family.
At approximately 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2009, 30-year-old Rebecca Benedict went to pick up her 4-year-old son from Brian Benedict at his apartment on the campus of UCI on Verano Place. The couple recently attended a court hearing where the defendant had been ordered to pay child support. After the victim entered Brian Benedict’s apartment, the defendant attacked Rebecca Benedict by swinging a hammer at her head.
Rebecca Benedict ran from the apartment down an adjacent path to escape. Brian Benedict chased her with a firearm and shot the victim several times. Brian Benedict then went back into his apartment, got his son, and put the boy in the car. Witnesses and neighbors, who feared the defendant was going to flee the scene with the child, physically restrained Brian Benedict until police arrived.
The Irvine Police Department and the UCI Police Department investigated this case.
At the sentencing today, the victim’s mother and brother gave impact statements about the loss of Rebecca and the toll it has taken on their family. The victim’s mother said she will honor her daughter by raising her grandson with all the love and attention he deserves.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.