PRESS RELEASE, 4/10/2017

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announces murder indictment in Hart case

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the indictment of Briana Benson (DOB 5-3-96) for the March 26th murder of Madelyn Hart.  Benson is now  indicted on 2 counts of Murder (Special Felony), 1 count of Felonious Assault (Felony 2), 1 count of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Felony 3),  and 1 count of Failure to Stop (Felony 3).  If convicted of all charges, she faces the possibility of life in prison.

Benson’s sister and Madelyn Hart’s friend had been involved in an ongoing feud.  The girls agreed to meet and Benson drove her sister to the area of 7th and Walnut Streets.   Both Benson and Madelyn Hart can be seen on videos participating in a fight.  The fight took place shortly before 3:00 a.m.  After a short period of time, the fight subsided and the girls with Benson returned to Benson’s 2015 Nissan Sentra and drove off. 

A short time later, Benson drove back to the same area (vicinity of 645 Walnut Street) and  Madelyn Hart was still there.  Hart approached Benson’s car on two occasions.  On the first occasion Madelyn is seen banging on the rear passenger side window.  The car backs up a few feet and Madelyn returns to the sidewalk.

Moments later Hart goes back into the street and is seen on video pounding on the front passenger side hood of Benson’s car.  Hart can be seen on video pounding on the car as it travels a short distance in reverse before turning right and driving directly into Madelyn.   Benson then drove south on Walnut with Madelyn pinned underneath the car for approximately 88 feet before she became dislodged.  A man in the area ran to assist the unconscious Hart while Benson fled the scene.    

Hart was transported to University Hospital where she died on March 30th. The Hamilton County Coroner indicated the cause of death was blunt impact to the torso and head.

Only a city’s video will be shown and released today as it is a public record.  Other videos are not public records and would not be released to the public until admitted into evidence at trial. The video shown today will be released by the Cincinnati Police Department.

Prosecutor Deters commented, “This is an incredibly sad case. Madelyn comes from a large and loving family who are devastated by her death.  No matter what the girls were fighting about, nobody deserved to be murdered as a result.  Two families are now torn apart - - one grieving the death of their daughter and the other family dealing with a daughter now charged with murder.”