New appeal filed for man convicted in 1985 murder of YSU student
Convicted murderer Bennie Adams could soon have his day in court... again.
A new filing with the Ohio 7th District Court of Appeals questions a ruling from Judge Anthony Donofrio, in which Donofrio determined that jurors in a 2008 murder trial were either not influenced or did not know about Adams's prior rape, robbery, and kidnapping convictions.
The story starts back in 2007, when Bennie Adams was arrested for the 1985 rape, robbery, and murder of 19-year-old YSU student Gina Tenney.
At the time, investigators claimed Adams had always been a suspect, and DNA evidence that had been tested in the years following Tenney's murder linked him to the crime.
At the time of the 2008 conviction, Adams was sentenced to death. The Ohio Supreme Court later upheld his conviction, but dismissed the death penalty. Adams was resentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Years later, a federal judge ordered new hearings, after learning that jurors deliberating the 2008 case might have known about Adams's prior convictions.
Those hearings were held in June of 2023. The court had to decide if jury members knew of the prior conviction, and then decide if it impacted the verdict.
At the time, Judge Donofrio determined that the jurors were not improperly influenced, and that Adams would not receive a new trial.
The new appeal claims Donofrio made a mistake in not allowing Adams's expert witness to testify about errors made by the judge who oversaw the 2008 trial.
Adams maintains his innocence, and will be eligible for parole in 2028.