Man Accused Of Murdering Ex-Wife, Mother Of 5 In Custer County


Monday, April 22nd 2019, 10:38 pm
By: Bonnie Campo


OSBI agents have arrested Brandon Benevento on a complaint of first-degree murder.  

Investigators said on Saturday, April 20, Benevento shot his ex-wife at a gas station in Arapaho around 6:30 p.m.

Heather Benevento had filed for divorce, and recently changed her name back to Heather Park.

Family said before the shooting, they had gathered together for dinner.

“She was with them at a family cookout when she got the call. She left and after that, that was the last time they seen her,” said Heather’s cousin Gerri Hicks. “She had a good heart. She would never harm anybody.”

Park’s body was found inside a vehicle at the Dinomart.

Benevento was soon taken into custody, and he was booked on a complaint of first-degree murder.

“(She) had been shot multiple times, she was transported to the Clinton hospital and then she was air-flighted to OU Medical where she later died,” said Brooke Arbeitman, with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Online court records show Benevento had a history of violence. In 2005, he was charged with two counts of Assault and Battery, and later pleaded guilty.

Also, since 2002, three people have filed for a victim protective order against Benevento. One of those included his ex-wife Heather Park.

Family said Park was Native American and belonged to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. They add she was heavily involved as a teacher in Thomas.

“She was there from Thomas, and she was a substitute teacher, always with the kids all the time. A lot of students knew her,” said Hicks.

The CDC reports black women and Native American women are more likely to be homicide victims more than any other group per capita. Furthermore, more than half of those cases involve domestic violence.

Oklahoma's Native Alliance Against Violence released statistics stating more than half of Native women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.

Read Also: United Voice – Murdered And Missing Indigenous Women Cases Remain Unsolved

Loved ones told News 9, Park’s home feels empty now that her smile is not there to brighten every room.

A fundraiser for the victim's family has been set-up through the First National Bank in Thomas and Custer City.

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