Bench is accused of murdering Henry at the Teepee Totem convenience store in Velma where Bench worked in June 2012. Her body was later found near his grandparent's home.
Once the final jury was chosen Tuesday morning, opening statements began quickly. In all, jurors heard from about eight witnesses. This is the moment that Braylee's family has been bracing for, the evidence presented in the courtroom right off the bat was very hard for the family to see. With Braylee's mother, Renee, taking the stand first, the trial began with a very emotional tone.
In her testimony, Braylee's mother told jurors about Braylee as a teen and her excitement for her new car that she jumped at the chance to drive. She was on an errand for sour cream, chips, salsa and candy. She first went to Speedy G's before arriving at Teepee Totem where she disappeared. Renee explained that it took hours for her to find out what happened to Braylee, even after driving by the store and seeing the crime tape.
After that, a customer of the store told prosecutors she found the store abandoned that night; open, but no clerk in sight. She searched everywhere for one and that's when she found a large pool of blood in the storage room. More emotional moments for the family and the witness as photos were shown for the jury.
From there, deputies and detectives were put on the stand to discuss the investigation. Despite numerous competency hearings in the past, Bench's defense is standing by the belief that Bench was not mentally stable during the attack on Braylee.
In their opening statements, they told jurors he hallucinated, didn't sleep and didn't plan on killing anyone. During cross-examination, they tried to discredit witnesses pertaining to the investigation.
Bench was very stoic during the whole day. He was nicely dressed and has a new haircut. But he was very reluctant to look at crime scene photos and even maps of Velma, but did not show any emotion on his face. Testimony wrapped up with cross-examination about the murder investigation.