George Benner

George Benner

Man Convicted Of Carmel Murder

Man Involved In Death Of Woman, Companion

POSTED: 5:33 pm EDT April 26, 2008

A man was convicted of murder for his role in allegedly plotting with a woman's estranged husband and another man to murder her and a companion.Juan C. Lucio, 23, was convicted Friday by a Hamilton Superior Court jury of two counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He faces possible life in prison without parole when he is sentenced Monday.

Two other men still face trial in the killings of Rebecca Payne, 32, and George Benner, 35, of Fowler, who were found shot to death in April 2007 in the Carmel duplex where Payne lived.Payne's estranged husband, Toby K. Payne, 31, Indianapolis, and Anthony Delarosa, 24, Zionsville, also face murder charges. Their trial is set for Oct. 6.

According to testimony by a Hamilton County Sheriff's Department detective, Lucio said Toby Payne tried to recruit him to kill his wife while both men were in jail and later gave him a key to her home. But Lucio denied involvement in the actual shootings.

Defense attorney Dan Henke said during final arguments that Lucio only knew there was going to be a robbery, and found out later the victims were shot to death."He didn't know those people were going to be murdered," Henke said. "No one was supposed to die."

In a videotaped statement, Lucio admitted he was in a car with Delarosa on the night of the killings. He said Delarosa got out of the car near Rebecca Payne's home and when he returned moments later he indicated he had shot people.

Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp called Lucio a conspirator in the murder of two innocent people."He's shown no remorse for what's happened to George Benner or Rebecca Payne, he's only concerned for what could happen to him," she told jurors. "I ask you to convict this man as the cold, calculating murderer that he is."

Leerkamp said Lucio was removed from the courtroom after he used vulgar language to Judge Steve Nation after the jury left the courtroom late Friday afternoon.

Also see post for dear friend Rebecca Payne.


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