Board rejects mercy for Butler Co. man who killed girlfriend

Michael Benge (Source: Ohio Department of Corrections)
Michael Benge (Source: Ohio Department of Corrections)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Parole Board has recommended no mercy for a condemned killer who beat his girlfriend with a pipe, threw her in a river and stole $400 from her bank account.

The nine-member board on Wednesday unanimously rejected the clemency request of 48-year-old Michael Benge of Butler County, who's scheduled to die Oct. 6.

The board's decision now goes to Gov. Ted Strickland, who has the final say.

Benge was sentenced to death for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend, Judith Gabbard, on the west side of the Miami River in Hamilton in southwest Ohio.

The board said Benge received a fair trial and that the brutality of the crime outweighs factors raised in his defense, such as a relatively clean record in prison.

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