Convicted murderer re-sentenced in killing of YSU student

Bennie Adams was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison

He was tried in 2008 for the death of Youngstown State University student Gina Tenney in 1985 after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A convicted murderer was re-sentenced Monday for the 1985 rape, murder and kidnapping of Youngstown State University student Gina Tenney.

Bennie Adams was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison during a hearing on Monday. The sentence was the maximum under state law at the time the crime was committed.

The 59 year old will be eligible for parole in 11 years due to credit for the time already served.

Tenney, who was from Ashtabula, was found in the Mahoning River in 1985. Adams has been incarcerated for the past nine years after DNA evidence tied him to the crime in 2007. Investigators said Adams, who was the victim’s downstairs neighbor, killed Tenney at a duplex on the city’s north side.

Adams had to be re-sentenced after Ohio’s Supreme Court threw out a burglary conviction last October due to insufficient evidence. As such, the death penalty also had to be thrown out.

In May, the Supreme Court affirmed the aggravated murder conviction, despite Adams’ claims that he is innocent of the crime.

“I know that we’ve been to trial and I lost at trial, but the way things was presented, I’m innocent of the crime,” Adams said Monday.

In court, prosecutors read from a letter written by the victim’s older sister.

“What gave you the right to take her life? Your disregard for human life is heinous, vile and evil as you are,” the letter read.

Prosecutors say the victim’s parents are now deceased and her sister is in poor health, but in the letter, Rhonda Tenney Reed warned Adams he will answer to God for his crimes.

“Prepare yourself Mr. Adams. You will be held accountable by a much higher power than any on this Earth and that punishment will be far worse than the one you received today,” Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Marty Desmond read.

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