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Jury finds Briana Benson guilty in death of Madie Hart Downtown

Posted at 3:39 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 19:07:05-05

CINCINNATI -- A jury found Briana Benson guilty of one count of murder, among other counts, in the death of Saint Ursula Academy alumnus Madie Hart last March. 

Jurors found Benson guilty of one count of murder, one count of felonious assault, one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. Prosecutors said Benson, 20, hit 18-year-old Hart with her car and dragged her about a block down Walnut Street. Hart died after four days in a coma.

Families of both Benson and Hart were in the courtroom Wednesday for hours of closing arguments. Jurors deliberated for about two hours before announcing they had reached a verdict.  

Benson never took the stand Tuesday as jurors listened to the final testimony. The case hinged on video evidence.

The incident started as a brawl over beef between Benson’s sister and Hart’s best friend. Benson told police she didn't even know Hart before that fight. Then, about 10 minutes after the fight broke up, Hart ran over and began hitting Benson's car. 

Benson's attorneys argued the video only shows what happens outside the car, just one side of the story. 

"She was on the hood and I hit the brakes and she went to the right, and she was banging, just banging on my car, and I saw something black in her hands and I just, like, panicked,"Benson told police.

But police and prosecutors point to dash cam video recorded by a nearby Uber driver, saying it shows Benson intended to hit Hart. They also said Benson's car blew through a red light the next block down, leaving Hart behind in the street. 

Benson will be sentenced at 9 a.m. March 8. Her bond has been revoked.