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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Man convicted of killing two women to be executed today

By Joe Milicia The Associated Press

AKRON – Trina Bowser and her brother spent countless summer days playing ball or splashing at the local swimming hole with the boy who would grow up to become her killer.

Glenn L. Benner II, a neighbor and friend, became an impulsive drug-abuser who committed a five-month spree of assaults in which he would rape, then choke his victims, killing two. His crimes have been described as “pure evil” and the work of “some wicked angel of Satan.”

Benner, 43, is to be executed today by injection for the killings. He has no legal appeals left, and did not seek clemency from Gov. Bob Taft. He has admitted committing horrific crimes while under the influence of drugs.

Benner arrived yesterday morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, where the execution is to take place, said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the state prisons agency. He was the first inmate to make the 250-mile trip to the Lucasville prison since death row was moved in October from Mansfield farther north to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.

It’s been nearly 20 years since Benner was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Bowser, 21, leaving her body in the trunk of her car along a highway in suburban Tallmadge. He was convicted of the same charges for strangling Cynthia Sedgwick, 26, in the woods at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls after they met at a concert.

Benner killed to avoid getting caught so he could continue assaulting women, said Phil Bogdanoff, an assistant Summit County prosecutor, who called Benner a serial rapist and killer at Benner’s clemency hearing last month.

“To me, this just boils down to pure evil,” said Sandra Mack, a member of the Ohio Parole Board, which voted against recommending clemency.

Bowser’s family is unhappy with the appeals process that has delayed Benner’s sentence for so long. They also have another complaint: there are only three seats at the execution for four brothers who want to witness the death of their baby sister’s killer.

Bowser was a Christmas baby born with dislocated hips. She spent the first nine months of her life in a body cast. She didn’t walk normally until age three, yet was always smiling.

She and her brothers grew up in Tallmadge two houses from Benner, who lived across the street in Springfield Township. She was closest with Rodney, her youngest brother, and they often played with Benner.

“It makes it real tough on me because I can’t believe a friend would do that to someone. It’s bad enough you do it to a stranger, but someone that trusted you,” Rodney Bowser, 48, said.

Rodney Bowser and his parents discovered her car along Interstate 76 on a winter night after the young secretary didn’t return from visiting a girlfriend. He is still haunted by nightmares of what he saw in the trunk.

Later that day, Bowser’s grandmother Trixie Irene Dick wrote with an unsteady hand on the front inside cover of her Bible: “Today, Jan. 2, 1986, was the worst day of my life. Some wicked angel of Satan killed my dear and loving Granddaughter Trina.”

Benner was a football player and well-liked in his middle-class neighborhood. But he began abusing marijuana and alcohol at age 13, according to James Siddall, a psychologist who evaluated Benner two weeks after his conviction. Benner tried to commit suicide at age 17 by connecting a hose from the tailpipe of his car to the back window.

Siddall wrote that Benner had below average intelligence, experienced major depression and was prone to impulsive behavior that included a lack of anger control. He concluded that Benner was most likely intoxicated when he raped and killed.

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