Brian Hughes Benedict Guilty of First-Degree Murder of His Ex-Wife Outside UCI Apartment

See Update No. 2 at the bottom of Page 2 on a jury today finding Brian Hughes Benedict guilty of special circumstances murder of his ex-wife. Update No. 1 detailed the trial's opening statements.

Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney's office
Brian Benedict allegedly put his son in his car after fatally shooting the then-4-year-old's mother.

ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 5, 7:08 A.M.: Opening statements are expected this morning in the murder trial of a graduate student accused of gunning down his ex-wife outside of his UC Irvine apartment.

Brian Hughes Benedict, Grad Student Accused of Killing Ex- on UCI Campus, to Face Trial

Brian Hughes Benedict, 40, and Rebecca Benedict, who was 30 at the time of her death on Sept. 13, 2009, were embroiled in a battle over custody and child-support payments involving their then-4-year-old son. On that fateful evening, the mother went to her ex-husband's Verano Place apartment around 7 p.m. to pick up the boy.

Ryan Reynolds lookalike Benedict is accused of waiting with a hammer in hand for the mother, who is said to have run away from the apartment unit when he began swinging the tool at her. As she darted across an apartment path, Benedict allegedly chased her with a gun and eventually shot her several times, killing her.

The father is then said to have gone back to his apartment, fetched his son and strapped him into a car seat in a vehicle. But witnesses, who feared Benedict would drive away with his son, physically restrained him until police arrived.

He is charged with felony special circumstances murder for financial gain and lying in wait with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. A conviction could send him to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

God help him: giving the opening statement for the prosecution this morning in Santa Ana is Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy, who seldom loses homicide cases.

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