Hughes Benedict, the 36-year-old grad student accused of killing his ex-wife outside his UC Irvine apartment last year, will stand trial for what is so far the only shooting death on campus.
A judge ruled during a
preliminary hearing at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach Wednesday that there is enough evidence to go to trial. Benedict, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 12.
Police and prosecutors say 30-year-old Rebecca Clarke, who had custody of the 4-year-old son she had with Benedict, went to her ex's apartment in UCI's Verano Place complex to pick up the boy after a
scheduled visitation on Sept. 13, 2009.
Benedict is accused of having waited for Clarke with a hammer, sneaking up behind her and, after an argument broke out, chasing her out of the apartment. The 2004 UCI graduate was shot at least once as she ran through a parking lot and later produced dead at a local hospital.
Irvine Police initially reported the 4-year-old was near his mother at the time of the shooting. Now, it is unclear whether the little guy saw his mother gunned down. Benedict was detained by residents until police arrived as he was putting the boy in a car.
Benedict, who was working toward a graduate degree in physics, had told police a week before the slaying about a custody battle he was having with Clarke and how escalating child support payments might force him to drop out of school.
He is charged with murder with sentencing enhancements for
use of a firearm, killing for money and lying in wait. He could get life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.