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Indiana executes convicted rapist, murderer

The state of Indiana executed early Thursday a man who spent nearly two decades on death row for raping and killing a teenager.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man who spent nearly two decades on death row for raping and killing a teenager was executed early Thursday.

Bill Benefiel Jr., 48, died by injection at 12:35 a.m. at the Indiana State Prison. He was convicted of holding 18-year-old Delores Wells of Terre Haute captive for 12 days before killing her on Feb. 17, 1987.

Benefiel also held Alicia Elmore of Terre Haute captive for four months in the same house and raped her more than 60 times. She survived and testified against him.

“Let’s get this over with,” he said. “Let’s do it.”

Benefiel spent a quiet day Wednesday watching television, and his only visitor was his attorney, prison officials said.

Wells’ mother, Marge Hagan, was at the prison for the execution but didn’t witness it.

“He was there for her last breath and I want to be there for his,” Hagan said. “I want to be as close as I can and know for sure this monster is gone and he will never, ever again hurt anyone else ever again.”

High court denies request for stay
The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request for a stay of execution filed by Benefiel’s attorneys, who argued that the trial judge improperly limited mitigating factors the jury could consider during the sentencing phase.

Wednesday night, about 25 protesters gathered outside the prison for a candlelight vigil and march.

“Our hope is to bring awareness to the atrocities of executions,” said the Rev. Tom Mischler of St. Mary of the Lake in Gary.

Gov. Mitch Daniels reviewed a clemency request from Benefiel’s attorneys and the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said.

Benefiel’s lawyers sought the review, even though Benefiel signed a waiver March 7 stipulating he did not want to ask for clemency. He had been on death row since November 1988.

Benefiel was the second person executed by Indiana this year and the 13th in the state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.