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Bench Won't Receive Another Competency Evaluation

A request for a third round of competency tests for murder defendant Miles Bench was denied.
A man charged with killing a 16-year-old Velma girl will not be granted a third round of competency tests.

That decision was made today in Stephens County District Court.

The date for Miles Bench's first-degree murder trial hasn't been able to be set up until this point because of continued competency proceedings.

Twenty-three year-old Bench is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2012 death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry when she came into the store where he worked.

He'd already twice been determined competent to stand trial for Braylee's murder, including once by a Stephens County jury.

During today's hearing, defense attorneys said they requested a third round of evaluations not because they think their client is incompetent, but because there was doubt as to his competency.

Defense attorneys questioned a licensed psychologist by phone during today's proceedings.

That doctor, who spent nearly six hours with Bench one day last month, said he thinks Bench suffers from two mental disorders, including Schizophrenia.

He testified Bench told him that he'd contemplated suicide seven times while in jail and said he might like the outcome of being sentenced to death if found guilty.

Prosecutors called the Stephens County jail administrator to the stand, who testified she observed normal behavior from Bench.

She also testified the jail has no record of Bench contemplating or attempting suicide.

After hearing testimony, District Judge Joe Enos denied the defense's request for another competency evaluation.

Now that this third request is denied, the court can move forward with setting a trial date.

The death penalty is still on the table in this case, so should Bench be found guilty, that could be an option jurors could decide.
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