|For Immediate Release
Case # 09HF1629
September 15, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
GRADUATE STUDENT TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDERING EX-WIFE IN CUSTODY DISPUTE OVER
NEWPORT BEACH – A graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has been charged with shooting and murdering his ex-wife outside of his campus apartment related to a custody dispute over their 4-year-old son. Brian Hughes Benedict, 35, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned today, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
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. She was recently granted primary custody of the boy, and he was ordered to pay child support. After the victim entered Brian Benedict’s apartment, the defendant is accused of becoming angry and attacking Rebecca Benedict by swinging a hammer at her as their son watched.
Rebecca Benedict ran from the apartment down an adjacent path to escape. Brian Benedict is accused of chasing her with a firearm and shooting at the victim several times. The victim was struck at least once as she tried to get away. Brian Benedict is accused of then going back into his apartment, getting his son, and putting the boy in the car. Witnesses and neighbors, who feared the defendant was going to flee the scene with his son, physically restrained Brian Benedict until police arrived.
The Irvine Police Department and the UCI Police Department investigated this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.