Murder victim’s family frustrated with ruling delay

Murder victim's family frustrated by ruling delay
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 5:16 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Delhi Township family is looking for answers after their daughter’s convicted killer submitted an appeal to her prison sentence.

In 2018, Briana Benson was sentenced to 18 years in prison after she was convicted of intentionally hitting and killing Madie Hart with her car in Over-the-Rhine.

“It’s a phone call no parent wants,” said Steve Hart, Madie’s dad.

On March 27, 2017, at 4:30 a.m., Steve and Jeannine Hart’s lives changed forever.

“Madie’s friends said she got hit by a car. Now every time my phone rings in the middle of the night, your heart just jumps” Steve said.

According to court documents, Benson, who is now 27, came downtown after receiving a call from her younger sister that she was involved in a fight with then-18-year-old Madie Hart and her friends.

Court records say Benson and Hart started fighting and according to prosecutors, Benson dragged Hart by her hair, kicked her and stomped on her face.

Hamilton County prosecutors say Hart’s keys somehow ended up in Benson’s car after that.

Surveillance footage shows Benson driving around the block and approaching Hart and her friends. In the video, Hart runs up and bangs on Benson’s car demanding her keys back.

That is when Benson backs up her vehicle, hitting Hart, investigators say.

“She was drug to her death almost 90 feet,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers said.

Hart was taken to the hospital after the incident.

“We go to the hospital, and as soon as we walked in the hospital, we had Cincinnati Police Officers take us to a room and tell us they didn’t think it was an accident. Our daughter was in intensive care for four days before she passed away,” explained Steve.

In 2018, a 12-person jury found Benson guilty of murder.

However, in 2019, Benson’s lawyer appealed the ruling which was later denied.

In response, her defense team asked for a new trial.

“The motion of new trial is the same basis of the appeal issues that were raised and the court of appeals and found that there were no errors in order to reverse the conviction,” Powers explained.

The prosecutor says the ruling of a new trial is not the issue, rather the case has been continued four times now.

“It’s very frustrating for our office because we would like to have a decision so that we could proceed one way or the other on that decision,” she said.

The case was set to go in front of a judge this morning, but just before the hearing, it was continued yet again.

“It just continues to be continued, so it started back in March, and we’re still waiting beyond today, even waiting to find out what this next piece is going to be. So that we know that whatever the decision will be will finally be made,” Jeannine said.

Benson’s next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 19, and Madie’s family says they intend to be front row.

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