Prosecutors fight parole of man convicted in Youngstown murder

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Convicted killer, Bennie Adams

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office is fighting the release of a convicted killer.

The office has filed an objection to the release of Bennie Adams.

Adams was convicted in a cold case investigation for the 1985 murder of Gina Tenney.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said that Adams was always a suspect in Tenney’s murder, but DNA evidence analyzed 20 years later helped convict him.

In 2007, the Ohio Attorney General invited police departments to submit cold-case evidence for DNA testing, and the Youngstown Police Department submitted the evidence in Tenney case. That evidence was analyzed by a state lab, which concluded that “Bennie Adams cannot be excluded as the source of the semen on the vaginal swab.” Further, “Bennie Adams cannot be excluded as the major source of the semen on the underwear.”

Adams faced a death penalty specification because murder was committed in the course of committing rape, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery or kidnapping.

His death sentence was later vacated by the Supreme Court of Ohio and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole eligibility for 20 years.

Adams has been in prison for 32 years and 10 months for Tenney’s murder and 18 years and 3 months for an unrelated October 1985 rape that happened in Boardman.

In the objection, prosecutors wrote there does not exist “reasonable ground to believe that paroling the prisoner would further the interests of justice and be consistent with the welfare and security of society.”

They described Adams’s actions as a “terrifying pattern of criminal behavior” and that his continued incarceration is justified.

Adams’s parole hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26.

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