Published June 12, 2012
Shortly after Oklahoma authorities tracked down the suspect in the brutal killing of a 16-year-old girl out shopping for a few Cokes at a local convenience store, authorities said the suspect asked if the state has the death penalty.
"You bet we do," Wayne McKinney, the sheriff of Stephens County, Okla., told FoxNews.com. "It's the district attorney's decision, but I believe this person, if found guilty, should be a candidate."
McKinney held his post for four years and has been in law enforcement for a quarter century. He didn't want to jeopardize the investigation or impact the jury pool, but he called the murder of Braylee Rae Henry the most brutal he's ever seen.
Henry, 16, was allegedly killed by Miles Bench, who had a brief stint in the military and worked four months in the Tee Pee Totem convenience store in the town of Velma.
The investigation is ongoing, but authorities do not believe there is any connection between them, other than, perhaps, passing acquaintances in a town of 600.
Authorities say their paths crossed on the evening of June 6.
A customer at the store alerted authorities that there was no clerk at the location. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene under the impression that the clerk may have been abducted. When they searched the store, they found an 18-inch pool of blood in the back room.
At about the same time, authorities were informed of another missing person. This time, it was a teenage girl who left her rural home to buy a few sodas. Authorities quickly made the connection and focused their attention on finding the teen.
"In hindsight, it was a good decision on our part," McKinney said.
Authorities determined that someone was driving Henry’s car. They also conducted a search on a 160-acre area of land owned by Bench’s grandparents. It was there, McKinney said, that K-9s located the girl's body.
Her car had an OnStar system, and after explaining the urgency to arrest a fleeing murder suspect, OnStar assisted authorities. They were able to locate the car 140 miles from the convenience store, near the town of Weatherford.
Bench was arrested and officers found hair dye and peroxide in the vehicle, McKinney said. Bench, who had blood on his shirt, may have been running to California or Mexico, McKinney said.
He told police,"I think I (expletive) up. I think I killed somebody earlier tonight," McKinney said.
His next court date is Aug. 13. Officials say Bench has refused to fill out the paperwork to be considered for a court-appointed attorney.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.