Judge rules there is sufficient evidence to prove he killed Yashanee Vaughn
Accused teen killer Parrish Bennette, Jr. was denied bail Thursday morning by a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge.
At the end of the bail hearing, Judge Richard Baldwin ruled there is sufficient evidence to prove the 16-year-old Bennette killed 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn on March 19.
Bennette has plead not guilty and will remain in custody until the trial, which has not yet been scheduled.
Members of Vaughn's family burst into applause when the ruling was announced in the courtroom. They were quieted by court personnel as Bennette was led out.
The hearing felt more like an actual trial with prosecutors presenting evidence against Bennette and defense attorneys arguing that it was not enough to prove Bennette meant to kill Vaughn. Although defense attorneys conceded there was evidence to believe Bennette killed Vaughn, they argued the killing was not intentional and that Bennette should be allowed to post bail.
As Baldwin said, the evidence against Bennette was substantial. It included his father telling police Bennette admitted killing Vaughn in his bedroom, a large amount of blood matching Vaughn's found in his bedroom, a gun recovered with the help of friends who said Bennette asked them to get rid of it, and a shell casing matching the gun found in the room.
Prosecutors also argued that Bennette made serious efforts to cover up the crime, including hiding Vaughn's body and cleaning up much of the blood in the room.
Bennette's attorneys argued that the same evidence could mean Bennette accidentally killed Vaughn and panicked, however.
During the hearing, a police detective said he believed Bennette either raped or fought with Vaughn, then killed her to cover it up. Witnesses also testified that one of Vaughn's friends said Vaughn had been in a relationship with Bennette for around four month before she disappeared. Vaughn was last seen with Bennette at a Taco Bell near his house on March 19. Her mother reported her missing two days later.
Vaughn's body has not yet been found, despite public pleas from her family to Bennette to tell police where it is.