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Murderer lethally injected

By John McCarthy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LUCASVILLE, Ohio – A man was executed yesterday for raping and strangling a woman he grew up with and a woman he met at a concert in a five-month spree of assaults while on drugs.

About two hours before Glenn L. Benner II died by injection, he met privately with the brother of one of his victims.

Rodney Bowser, who requested the meeting, said recently he wanted to talk to his boyhood friend to resolve some unanswered questions that have haunted him for years, such as how Benner and his sister crossed paths the night of her death.

Their 15-minute discussion through the cell door at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility was the first meeting between an inmate about to be executed and a victim’s family member.

Benner, 43, was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Trina Bowser, 21, in 1986, leaving her body in the trunk of her car along a highway in Tallmadge, the town where they grew up across the street from each other.

A year earlier he strangled Cynthia Sedgwick, 26, of Cleveland Heights, after a George Thorogood concert.

Benner admitted committing horrific crimes while under the influence of drugs. He had refused to ask for his life to be spared because he said the process does not consider whether a person changes in prison.

He smiled at relatives and nodded toward the victims’ families when he entered the execution chamber.

“Over the last 20 years I’ve caused you unimaginable pain and I’m sorry. Trina and Cynthia were beautiful girls who didn’t deserve what I done to them. They are in a better place. I pray that God will grant you peace,” Benner said just before he died.

Bradley Bowser, one of Trina’s three brothers who witnessed the execution, said softly, “That won’t get you into heaven, ace.”

After the execution, 13 of Trina Bowser’s family members criticized the law allowing only three people for each victim to witness the executions and lashed out against death penalty opponents.

Those who feel sadness for Benner should know their “comments are meaningless to us, because you have not suffered the heart-wrenching loss and ongoing nightmare of a loved one being brutally murdered,” said Scott Bowser, Trina’s nephew, who read a statement from the family. Death penalty opponents typically protest at the prison during executions, and dozens were outside yesterday.

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