Stiff sentence handed down in Bencoma case

News release from Inyo County Attorney’s office

Raymond Bencoma was sentenced today by the Inyo County Superior Court to 141 years, 4 months to Life  in prison.  The Honorable Brian J. Lamb ordered the sentence after today’s hearing.  Mr. Bencoma will be transferred to the reception center of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as soon the necessary court documents are prepared.

Ray Bencoma

On September 6, 2017 an Inyo County Jury convicted Mr. Raymond Bencoma of four counts of felony assault with a firearm arising out of an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of August 26, 2016.  Under California law, these charges are classified as serious felonies.  

The District Attorney’s office had argued for the term, based on the severity of the charges, the number of victims, and Mr. Bencoma’s lengthy, serious criminal history (including three prior “strike” convictions)

District Attorney Tom Hardy stated “The Court made the right decision.  Obviously, this was a horrible situation and there is nothing good that could have come of it, but the law enforcement agencies handled the matter with the utmost professionalism and the jury entrusted with the case found the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The Court carefully examined the sentencing factors, and did the right thing.”

The case against Mr. Bencoma was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Dee Shepherd.  The case was originally investigated by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the Bishop Police Department and Inyo District Attorney Investigators.

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34 Responses to Stiff sentence handed down in Bencoma case

  1. Maddawg November 11, 2017 at 11:53 pm #

    I don’t know enough about this case to have an opinion but what I do know is that the judicial court system in this county is indeed a joke! Here its who you know and who’s your friends in the court circle of in yo. County are. There is no one to check if any of these people IE; cops, probation, DA, judges, are going by the book or creating their own rules as they go. I do know that some of their sentences are way off and excessive. All you have to do is use a conviction of any crime and check the same crime in a different city and you will see that inyo counties excessive time sentences are off the charts!

  2. stoopid November 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm #

    LowInyo- He was found NOT GUILTY OF ASSAULT ON A PEACE OFFICER!!!! Not by one jury, but two. If you take the LEOs out of the equation….. and to be unbias lets put you in rays shoes. There you are when four unidentified persons come onto your property in the wee morning hours, alerting your dog….what do you do? Do you take a stand? Do you pull the blankets over your head? Again, four unknown subjects. At 3:30 in the morning. Who comes by for an unecpected visit at that time?

    • Low-Inyo November 14, 2017 at 6:09 am #

      stoopid…….FOUND GUILTY OF ASSAULT WITH A FIREARM….and that assault was on the officers..and I can’t put myself in his shoes for this incident…I’m not a felon…and if I were,probably wouldn’t be in possession of, and waving around a firearm,let alone a STOLEN firearm…I probably wouldn’t be sneaking around at 3 or 4 A.M.,and depending on who you want to believe,hiding from possible LE officers looking for me after a domestic violence incident…numerous past incidents with LE put him in this position….and past incidents do count,both with LE officers reactions AND actions,and when things go to court….his life of crime did him in this time.

  3. Low-Inyo November 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    Donald Salec…..If we don’t like the justice system we got know,I say let’s go back to how it was in the 1800’s…do something dumb or stupid,and especially if you keep doing it year after year,hurting others,or worse…a trial in the next few days…if found guilty of the serious crimes…murder,rape,serious assaults,numerous domestic violence incidents,etc….townspeople gather in the town court yard and have a hanging party.. now THAT is a deterrent for criminals….making them think twice..and making for a safer lifestyle for others that choose to live within the law…bring back the ole’west days !!

  4. Donald Salac November 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    If you don’t like our justice system try the one in China. Some US athletes are looking at 10 years for shoplifting. Some Chinese citizens are sentenced to a bullet in the back of the head with no appeals.

  5. Drifter November 8, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    Our justice system is a joke

  6. OwensValleyDry November 8, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Not debating on what he did or did not do or if he’s guilty or not because it doesn’t matter now, but I will say this.

    Regardless, I will never trust the Inyo County Justice system. If you’ve been in it, or had family members in it, you know it’s an uphill battle of a crooked maze that’s tough to escape and I can see why one may NOT be able to escape its clutches even trying to do right.

  7. Almost Native November 7, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    If the people of Inyo County had more faith in our justice system up here, we wouldn’t be debating this right now.

  8. Low-Inyo November 7, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    Drifter….somewhat agree and disagree with you there,if it matters any…I know of people that had terrible childhoods and early lives,and they turned out good…and others that had good up-bringing,but turned out like crap,When someone reaches a certain age,usually early 20’s or so,time to forget the “blame-game”,if you’d gotten into trouble in your teen years,can’t blame your parents anymore..time to straighten up,for yourself as well as those around you..time to get a job,dump the bad people in your life,get away from early past problems..not carry on your bad behavior into your 40’s….and then make excuses as to why your still doing stupid things and getting into trouble…and sometimes for some,getting yourself into trouble to the extent you spend the rest of your life in prison.

  9. Drifter November 7, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    Our life paths are not driven by choices alone. Circumbstance also contibutes heavely. There is no dispute that Ray has endured harsh circumbstances in his life. No doubt he has made some very poor choices along the way. Like many of you, he has children, brothers, sisters, cousins, family, friends and loved ones who care about him. Have some respect, show some class. If you feel safer good! If you feel justice was served, great? If it makes you feel better to bash him on social media, more power to you. But if you havent read the book, you dont know the story.

  10. Wondering November 6, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    Well, I for one, feel safer…I am glad the LEO’s who were involved got to home to their families and we are not feeling bad because another officer was shot. I am sorry for the family, but then they knew him, and still stick up for him….even after this, with anger, and blame.

    Good job to the Judge, the witnesses and the LEO’s, as I am sure they will all carry that night with them.

    After all the horrendous things happening in our beautiful USA, I think you just stopped another tragedy from happening.

  11. INYOFACE November 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    ISLAMIC TERRORISTS who have murdered dozens of Americans have been given Amnesty by X President Obama from GITMO , And are back home .
    And this poor fool gets 141 years for waving a gun around and getting shot by INYO Sheriffs .

    • Charles O. Jones November 6, 2017 at 8:53 am #

      And far far more are randomly murdered by their own fellow Americans, while DT, the GOP and the NRA keep fighting to ensure that everyone has unfettered access to firearms. They like to claim these murderous acts are simply a mental health issue. Yet when it comes to having access to our beloved guns, no demands from the aforementioned are made for “extreme vetting”. Meanwhile, the unstable amongst us continue to massacre their fellow Americans. I have to agree INYOFACE, things do seem INSANE.

      • BobK November 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

        Charles. How would more gun control have helped ?. This man was not allowed to possess a weapon just like the majority of people convicted of gun related crimes. BobK

        • Charles O. Jones November 6, 2017 at 11:24 pm #


          My comments were admittedly off topic for this particular article. They were loosely directed at INYOFACE’s Islamic terrorist remarks and to the recent mass murders of our citizens by gun toting Americans.

          Our GOP leaders have demanded “extreme vetting” for those entering our country that they view as a threat. Yet these same politicians seem perfectly happy with no vetting whatsoever for firearm purchases. Far more of our citizens are killed by Americans with legally purchased firearms than from Muslim terrorists. Our fellow Americans are a far bigger threat to our safety than the Islamic boogey man is.

          I am a gun owner myself and I’m not in favor all out gun bans. But I don’t buy into the utter nonsense spewed by the NRA and the GOP regarding reasonable regulations.

        • Arielle November 30, 2017 at 5:47 am #

          Bob K. If he was in possession of a gun, wouldn’t the gun have his finger prints?? Correct. But as the specialist said up on stand, there were no p

  12. stoopid November 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    All i can say is WOW! This is not justice. It is injustice. You all seem to have forgot there was two mistrials. I want to know how many of you posting here, were in the court room. How many of you, sat along side myself and several others, and listened to witness testimony, and saw the evidence that was presented to the jury? Heard the discussions that were held outside the jurys presence? The arguments as to why exibits should or should not be admitted into evidence? All I am going to say is there is more than meets the eye. I am not going to go on about Ray and whether he is a good person or bad person that is no longer the issue. The prosicutions case was weak at best. There were no figerprints on the gun or casings. There was no DV and LE was not flagged down. No other means of force was applied. Not a beanbag gun, taser, pepperspray, nothing. No words were exchanged. Just BOOM, BOOM, 7x. Why werent LEs body cameras turned on until after he was shot? Why wasnt the jury shown that footage? If all these factors don’t cause a reasonable doubt then what will? Shame on each and all of you. He would have got less time if he had killed someone. He may not be a saint and is far from innocent, but in this paticular case he is a victim of excessive force. End of story

  13. Almost Native November 5, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    The way the DA and Police handled this case, I would be surprised if he doesn’t win a appeal. I still think he is going to sue the county.

    • Low-Inyo November 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

      ….knowing the way some try to “work it”,I’m sure your right about some of that…doubt an appeal will work,but surely still “family plans” with a County lawsuit.and some trying to maybe get free money coming their way..

  14. Facts November 4, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    People who are violent offenders do not get 33% time ,they do 85%

  15. Silver Spurs November 4, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    Well serving the 4 months part of his sentence should be an easy stretch.

  16. Reality November 3, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    You can send him a postcard to….
    The SHU
    Pelican Bay State Prison
    Crescent City, CA 95531

  17. INYOFACE November 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    He did not even hurt anybody, not this time anyway. Sure there was the little girl he let drown , but he paid for that crime already , if you lunatics remember correctly this time he was a Felon in Possession of a firearm and he was the one who was shot . Sure he had a bad record but still !
    141 years for waving a gun around , Thats all he did .
    You people are NUTS .

    • Low-Inyo November 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

      INYOFACE……true,convicted of felon in possession of a firearm….but also convicted of the heavy charge that brought on the big time prison sentence…..that being assault on the LE Officers..with the firearm.

  18. Low-Inyo November 3, 2017 at 6:30 am #

    …KARMA……a life of crime,getting away with years of criminal activity with little more than a slap-on-the-wrist penalties….thumbing his nose at society with his behavior..finally getting his due….and surely coming soon,probably right here,those saying how unfair this sentence is “for this child”,how he’s been “picked on ” his entire life by Law Enforcement and others…never given a chance to succeed..wherever he is going to serve his life sentence,I’m hoping there is a really big mirror in his prison cell,so when he’s feeling bad and down and out he can look into it if he wants to blame anyone for his life now…

    • Arielle November 3, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

      Here’s for all you Sorry A## People that just sit there and judge my child’s father when in reality, you all probably don’t know him, let alone met him. If you knew him you would say different. Stop judging others cause that’s not your purpose here on Earth. Leave it up to Good, cause ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE US. You can all say bad things about Ray, but keep in mind that karma is a mean ass bitch, and I don’t wish this on anyone. God bless all you judgemental people.

      • Tinner November 5, 2017 at 7:37 pm #

        Arielle, I do feel and pray for you and your family, you are blinded by love so it must hurt a lot to know somebody you love will be in prison for the rest of their life. But know that Ray and only Ray chose that path, also know he was JUDGED and convicted by a jury of his peers. You’re correct, “karma is a mean ass bitch” and Ray realizing that right now. The only person to blame for the hurt you are feeling right now is Ray. Don’t blame us for feeling a little safer while walking the streets of Bishop knowing there is one less person with a criminal past walking among us.
        The best thing you can do now is to be honest with yourself and your family in knowing why he will be spending the rest of his life in prison and without blaming others and without making excuses, sorry.
        Sincere prayers and best wishes for you and your family.

  19. Gibs November 3, 2017 at 6:02 am #

    What’s the matter with people?

  20. Verne November 3, 2017 at 5:03 am #

    No worries Ray, with 33% time…………’ll be out in just over 47 years 🙂

    • Buzz Killington November 3, 2017 at 9:54 am #

      Its 85% time not 33%

      85% Violent
      33% non- violent


      • Verne November 5, 2017 at 4:36 am #

        I stand corrected, I’m not familiar with the justice system

  21. Almost Native November 3, 2017 at 3:37 am #

    The guy probably belongs in jail. But I’m not sure justice was fairly served here.

  22. Rick O'Brien November 2, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    Your future awaits you, Mr. Bencoma . You chose to take the path of a criminal and were given too many 2nd chances in the past. You are finally done victimizing the good people of the Owens Valley. When that Department of Corrections bus pulls up to the front gate of your new home in Pelican Bay, for what is surely to be the remainder of your natural life , I bet you pee your pants .

  23. Tinner November 2, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

    Well, good.
    I feel safer already.


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