Renee Henson

Renee Henson stands in Jason Hicks’ office by a photo of Braylee Henry and was extremely thankful for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals recent decision.

Standing next to the photo of Braylee Henry on District Attorney’s Jason Hicks desk, mother Renee Henson spoke about the recent opinion the Oklahoma Court of Appeals put out Tuesday.

Henson joined First Assistant District Attorney Cortnie Siess after receiving a phone call from Hicks on Tuesday, Aug. 31 saying she is thankful for the call and what it means for Miles Bench.

Bench was convicted of Murder in the First Degree for the 2012 murder of Henson’s daughter Braylee Henry and news of the opinion was extremely welcomed by the family.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to God for all He has done for our family and I want to say thank you to our friends and family who continue to pray for us and support us,” Henson said. “The town of Velma has been so loving and caring which we appreciate so much. I want to say thank you to DA Jason Hicks and Lawson & Lea who were part of the trial here and for Caroline who was in Oklahoma City. We thank them so much and appreciate all that they did. I want to say a special thank you to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for this decision. Our family believes this is the right decision. This is not for just our family but for so many other families that are dealing with this decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court.”

Henson continued by saying that her daughter was murdered by Bench nine years ago, he has been deemed a convicted murder and received his punishment.

“We believe going forward that he will receive that punishment,” Henson said.

As news came down back in May of the McGirt decision overturning Bench’s conviction, Henson said it has been a tough year and is glad to see the chapter is close to being closed.

When the conviction was overturned, it was determined that a new trial might be needed and Henson said she is glad that another trial may not be necessary.

“It is an emotional turmoil, it is torture to think about reliving…it took a week in court but it took three years through the court system to get him convicted,” Henson said. “It is an emotional, stressful and heart wrenching time to think we might have to re-do that again. I’m so thankful that this decision was handed down and I can’t say enough thanks for that.”

Henson’s faith has not wavered and she said that prayers were answered when Hicks called to say they had it in writing.

“I was super excited. I don’t think he (Hicks) thought I was excited enough and me and Braylee’s dad talked about it last night because we know we have some more hurdles to get through,” Henson said. “We are going to believe that this will stand, that the death penalty is going to stand and he will receive the punishment he deserves.”

While there is still a few appeal processes available for Bench and his team, both Hicks’ team and the family of Henry believes that the death penalty will be upheld as it was recommended.

As she raved about the community support, Henson praised everyone who put ribbons back up on Braylee Way in Velma near the high school.

“It just a reminder of how much they care, how much they love us and how much they loved Braylee. We are so thankful for that,” Henson said. “It is overwhelming but then again it is such a blessing to know that people care and they are thinking about you and praying for you.”

In her closing remarks, when asked about what she would tell Braylee about the whole situation, Henson was reminded about the time she coached her daughter’s team and the speech she gave.

“The first thing I want them to know is that we serve a Mighty God that wants the best for each and every one of us. He takes care of us and guides and directs us,” Henson said. “It takes a village. Everyone we dealt with has been kind, loving and supportive. I would tell her that I miss her very much, I love her dearly and hopefully I’m not a weenie. I say that because I coached those girls when they were little and our little slogan was ‘no weenies’. So she would say ‘mom I’m proud that we are not weenies.’”

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