|For Immediate Release
Case # 09HF1629
August 4, 2014
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
GRADUATE STUDENT TO FACE TRIAL FOR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES SHOOTING-MURDER OF EX-WIFE OVER CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS
SANTA ANA – A graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) will face trial tomorrow for shooting and murdering his ex-wife outside of his campus apartment related to a dispute over child support payments. Brian Hughes Benedict, 40, is charged with 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. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
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 is accused of attacking Rebecca Benedict by swinging a hammer at her head.
Rebecca Benedict ran from the apartment down an adjacent path to escape. Brian Benedict is accused of chasing her with a firearm and shooting the victim several times. 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.