Judge sentences Briana Benson for intentionally hitting, killing Madie Hart with her car
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A Hamilton County judge sentenced the driver who hit and killed Madie Hart with her car after a fight to 18 years in prison. Judge Robert Winkler also imposed a lifetime driving suspension for Briana Benson during her sentencing on March 8.
A jury convicted Benson of murder and other charges for intentionally hitting Hart with her car downtown in March of 2017. It was caught by surveillance camera. Her actions followed a fight involving several girls that was recorded on cell phone.
Benson spoke briefly during her hearing. "I want to say I'm sorry to the family. It was an accident." She blamed her conviction on that fight, her hair and her sister's text messages.
Several of Madie's family members spoke.
Jeannine Hart said she was supposed to build a life with Madie and help her make good choices. "I want to be able to hug her again. She's never going to burst through the front door again with her signature 'hello, I'm home'".
Said Madie's father Stephen Hart, "I'm tired, I'm exhausted. I need to grieve and I don't feel like I have yet." He told the court that her friends are having a hard time. He also said he felt sorry for the Benson family.
Judge Winkler said he struggled with Benson's sentence. He told her Madie's death was senseless and that Benson should have let her sister fight her own battles. He told her that she won that fight but chose to drive back. "You are a 20-year-old woman and had you acted like a woman that night, as I said, we never would have been here."
Judge Winkler also noted that Benson was out on bond for a felony when she killed Madie. "You're the poster child for why we try not to let people out of the Justice Center."