YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Convicted murderer Bennie Adams has lost another appeal this week in his conviction for the 1985 death of a Youngstown State University co-ed.
The Seventh District Court Of Appeals denied his claim for post-conviction relief that was filed Monday.
Adams and his legal team filed the claim about a year after he was resentenced in June 2016 to 20 years to life in prison for the Dec. 30, 1985 death of Gina Tenney.
Tenney was found raped and strangled under the West Avenue Bridge. Adams, long a suspect, was not indicted until 2007 after tests by the state Bureau Of Criminal Investigation found his DNA on evidence collected at the scene.
Adams was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to death, but the state Supreme Court vacated the death sentence and sent the case back for resentencing in 2016. The sentence Adams was given was the maximum by law in 1985, when the crime was committed.
One of the main arguments in his post-conviction relief seeking a new trial was that testimony about Tenney’s autopsy should have been challenged by defense counsel during his trial.
When Tenney was killed, Dr. Nathan Belinky was Mahoning County’s Coroner, but he died before the trial and unable to testify. Former Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk testified for the prosecution about the coroner’s report, but Adams contends that the doctor who performed the actual autopsy was still alive at the time of the trial and should have been called to testify.
Adams claims that because his defense counsel at the trial did not object or call the doctor, they were ineffective and he should also be granted a new trial based on that.
The appeals court ruled that the state Supreme Court already determined that the testimony about the autopsy was introduced properly and also that Adams’ claims are invalid because they were not raised on his direct appeal
The appeals court also ruled against Adams’ claims that there was not enough evidence to convict him.
Adams lived in the same Ohio Avenue apartment building as Tenney and was a suspect after her death but prosecutors at the time felt there was not enough evidence to take the case to a grand jury.