Benjamin Lee Brenneman was delivering Orange County Register newspapers along his usual Anaheim route on Aug. 25, 1981, when he was approached by a man inquiring about a subscription.
That was the last time anyone saw the 12-year-old alive.
This morning, Benjamin is being remembered at a memorial 30 years after that horrible day.
His body was found stuffed in a car. He had been abducted, sodomized and murdered.
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Robert Jackson Thompson, a pedophile on parole, initially confessed to the crimes. Then he recanted, claiming police pressured him into the admission. Didn't matter. Articles of clothing belonging to Benjamin were found in Thompson's apartment, which was on the boy's delivery route.
Prosecutors convinced the jury that Thompson killed Benjamin in that apartment. Thompson was sentenced to death in 1983 and spent the next several years on Death Row, breathing air while Benjamin couldn't.
Politicians, prosecutors and, of course, the Brenneman family called it a travesty of justice that Thompson could file endless appeals to avoid a date with the executioner. He eventually died of natural causes in 2006. He was 60.
Benjamin, who is buried at Loma Vista Memorial Park in Fullerton, will be remembered at 11 this morning at Modjeska Park, 1331 S. Nutwood St., Anaheim. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who was among those who called on the state to stop dragging out Thompson's execution, announced this week he will be there.