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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Low-Inyo
Low-Inyo
5 years ago

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… Read more »

mouthpiece
mouthpiece
5 years ago

Separate incidents? Why were they going after him?

russoloco
russoloco
5 years ago

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

Low-Inyo
Low-Inyo
5 years ago

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… Read more »

mouthpiece
mouthpiece
5 years ago

REALLY? NO ONE ELSE IS CONCERNED THAT THERE WAS NO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? WASN’T THAT THE REASON THEY WERE LOOKING FOR HIM? WTF?

mouthpiece
mouthpiece
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Low-Inyo
Low-Inyo
5 years ago

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… Read more »

russoloco.
russoloco.
5 years ago

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.

Low-Inyo
Low-Inyo
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  Low-Inyo

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… Read more »

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
5 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

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

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago

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