FOWLER, Ind. (WLFI) - A murder for hire plot, that led to the death of a Fowler manand his girlfriend, has resulted in a life sentence.
32-year-old Toby Payne pleaded guilty to two counts of murder.Hamilton County Police said Payne hired two men, he met in jail, tokill his estranged wife. Rebecca Payne and George Benner of Fowlerwere shot in April 2007 at her house near Carmel. Juan Lucio ofFrankfort and another man from Zionsville were sentenced to life inprison without parole for their part in the murders.
George Benner's mother spoke to News Channel 18 about Payne'ssentence and the two years she's lived without her oldest son.
"I do believe this is justice," said Charla Benner.
Charla Benner attended all of the hearings, trials andsentencings of the three men involved in her son's death.
"I wanted to know what exactly happened," she explained. "Iwanted to see if these guys were remorseful in any way. They werenot."
After two years, she found herself at the final sentencing. TobyPayne hatched the murder for hire plot to kill his wife RebeccaPayne who filed for divorce. 35-year-old George Benner of Fowler,Charla's son, was also murdered. The two dated only five weeks.Charla believes George and Rebecca lost their lives for onereason:
"Toby Payne's greed. It almost felt like he was a child becauseRebecca was filing for divorce and was leaving him. No one elsecould play with her. A selfish child is what I felt like. He didn'tcare who else was hurt," she said.
The victim impact statement Charla gave to the judge reads: "Hisbrothers Jim, Chris, Phil and Steve and his sister Roni will neveragain be able to ask his advice or moral support. I will neveragain be able to chat with him or call him up when I need help. Hissix nieces and nephews, who adored him, will never be able to playgames with him. George's siblings and I will never get over losingmy son, their brother, their uncle, their friend, theirconfidante." Yet, George's presence is still tangible to thefamily. George is remembered for loving to cook. His two brothersopened Benner's Bar and Grill in Fowler.
"They are using some of George's receipes that George liked tocook," Charla added.
George also graduated from Purdue University and volunteeredmany places. In his memory, a scholarship will be given to Purdue'sSchool of Technology student. Here is the criterion to receive themoney:
"They have to have given of themselves to others because that'swhat George was doing a lot of. He was involved with the soupkitchen. He was involved with Relay For Life. He was always thereto help you when you needed help," she said.
George's family is inviting the detectives and prosecutorinvolved in his case to have a meal at Benner's Bar and Grill as athank you.
Click here to see a PDF of the completestatement George's mother submitted to the judge who sentenced TobyPayne.
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