Jury splits on Bencoma charges

Inyo County District Attorney press release

An Inyo County Jury convicted Bishop-area resident Raymond Bencoma of being a felon in possession of a firearm and a felon in possession of ammunition, but was unable to reach verdicts on charges that he assaulted four peace officers during an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of August 26, 2016.  The jury found him not guilty of knowingly possessing stolen property (a misdemeanor).

The jury also found to be “true” that the Defendant had previously suffered three prior serious or violent felony convictions (commonly referred to as “strikes”).

A further date for consideration of a retrial date for the charges of assault on peace officers has been set for May 9, 2017 in the Superior Court in Independence.

Notes from the jury, which are a public record in the case, suggest that the jury could not agree on whether or not the defendant knew he was pointing a firearm at them when the officers encountered him.

“As is the case in any matter where a jury “hangs” we will carefully review the facts and circumstances, speak with any of the jurors who wish to talk to us, and will soon make a decision as to whether or not to retry Mr. Bencoma on the hung counts.  The jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant possessed a firearm and ammunition when contacted by law enforcement officers, and we continue to view this as a very serious case involving a dangerous individual”, said District Attorney Tom Hardy.

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12 Responses to Jury splits on Bencoma charges

  1. Low-Inyo May 12, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    mouthpiece…..I actually think you think LE had some type of meeting that night how to hunt down,harass and eventually shoot and kill this guy for no reason….I got a better question …what was he doing roaming around late night-early morning,a felon,with a loaded stolen pistol sneaking around out buildings ??…being such a good,productive citizen that he is,was he bored and just passing the time untill he clocked into his full-time job that supports his family ?

  2. mouthpiece May 11, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    Separate incidents? Why were they going after him?

  3. russoloco May 9, 2017 at 7:03 am #

    The DV charge wasn’t dropped just not prosecuted at this time. They are separate incidents.

  4. Low-Inyo May 8, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    Mouthpiece…IMO,easy answers to all your questions above….DV dismissed,nothing new for DV victims,not to press charges or testify against their abuser…the possessing stolen property,more or less the jury not sure of HIS KNOWING the pistol was stolen…possessing stolen property usually mean stolen by others …and he wasn’t found “not guilty” of that charge anyway…but doesn’t mean he wasn’t in possession of a loaded weapon and ammo,stolen or not…a big no-no for a convicted felon ..the assault charges….the jury hung on that one too….wasn’t found “not guilty” with that one either…what sounds “fishy ” to me is…him saying he “didn’t know he was pointing a firearm at LE when they encountered him”….HUH ??…now maybe it’s just me,but if I were LE and someone came up from behind a building with pistol in hand,aimed at me or not,I’d order to drop the weapon,and if it didn’t happen real quickly,I wouldn’t wait on bullets coming my way before I emptied my own magazine on them…

  5. mouthpiece May 8, 2017 at 8:00 am #


  6. mouthpiece May 7, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

    I too am concerned that no one is concerned with law enforcement actions. In case you all haven’t noticed…….. What about the DV charges? Dismissed! And how is it that he was found not guilty of possessing stolen property but guilty of possessing gun/ammo when the the stolen property in question was in fact the gun? Sounds fishy to me. Clearly there was disagreement when it came to the assault charges…. why? If he had a gun and pointed it at officers or anyone for that matter=assault.

  7. Low-Inyo May 7, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    Trouble…the three strike rule,unless I’m mistaken,is something the people of California voted on long ago,maybe trying to end the revolving door with some criminals and light slap-on-the-wrist penalties and sentences they were getting,only to re-offend over and over….again and again…adding to their list of victims…to where if they had two previous violent felonies on their record and were dumb enough to continue their outlaw actions and get convicted a third time,they would find themselves sitting in prison for a minimum of 25 years…but I’m sure since then, and along the way somewhere,things have changed with that,since it states above he’s ALREADY had three strikes,and this is his FOURTH violent felony act conviction…so we’ll see what this one does…in the future,maybe it’ll be “strike FIVE,your out !!!…gosh,I sure hope the game of baseball doesn’t take that up….should would make for a long ballgame,and some tired arms for the pitchers.

  8. russoloco. May 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I don’t see how he could sue as the case is being retried. DA’s generally won’t retry unless the jury was hung by only one or two people. But yes, they did find him on the 3rd strike so he’ll be going to actual prison and not Inyo Country Club.

  9. Low-Inyo May 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    Well,unless the game of baseball has changed some since the last time I checked,since this is his FOURTH-strike conviction(whatever happened to the THREE strike law ?) for violent felony crimes,this should do it, prison time for a VERY long time…..but like “Trouble ” stated earlier,I’m sure some type of lawsuit against the County coming up,since the jury didn’t convict on all the charges..trying for the ever-popular “cha-ching !”….good luck with that one,Mr.Bencoma and lawyer..lol !!

    • Trouble May 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

      I looked up the sentence for felons with a gun and it said 6 months, two years and three years. I’m not sure what the 3 strike ruling does to him?
      But, what does amaze me is he would be free right now if he wasn’t a felon and no one seems to have any concerns about our law enfocment actions that night.

      • Rick O'Brien May 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

        I have concerns about the actions that night by the responding deputies…concerns that the deputies aim wasn’t better.

  10. Trouble May 6, 2017 at 3:04 am #

    Told ya. What’s our DA going to say and do when this guy sues the county? Stay tuned!


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