15-Year Old Kills 12-Year Old “Friend”
The body of a 12-year old Willie Bender was discovered brutally murdered two weeks after he was reported missing by his parents. He had been tied with a rope and stabbed in the heart by his 15-year old “friend,” Harry Murch.
Murch’s crime was horrendous. The bully lured the younger boy to an abandoned house and killed him as a horrified friend looked on. The tough guy murderer claimed the young victim’s father had badmouthed him.
1. Harry Murch; 2. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Bender, parents of murder victim Willie Bender; 3. Judge Thomas Downs; 4. Defense Attorney Dana Wallace; 5. Jury
The killing was a result, as the confession revealed, of petty revenge – because the father of the Bender youngster accused Harry of robbing a woman and hitting her over the head with a monkey wrench. This story came after a no monkey business 6 hour interview with the detectives.
In his plan to get back at the boy’s father, Murch coerced Bender and another young friend, John Miller (10) to participate in a “rehearsal” robbery. As the boys unwittingly entered this ruse, the play quickly turned into a tragedy. Murch made Miller tie Bender’s limbs with a rope as he gagged the victim until he couldn’t yell. After Murch stabbed Bender through the heart with a potato knife, he enlisted Miller and Miller’s 13-year old sister to cover up the crime.
William Bender was found two weeks later, stuffed into the closet of an empty dwelling.
Police questioned the boys for hours
Anonymous benefactor pays for funeral
DA says any person over 7 years old could be tried on a capital charge
Jurors considered "the chair"
Young witnesses testified
Jamaica Police Station
Harry Murch, 15 is shown with guard at Jamaica police station, arrested for killing Willie Bender, 12 (inset).
Willie Bender, 12, found bound, gagged and stabbed.
Trial of Harry Murch
The accused at the center of a widely publicized trial.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bender, parents of the dead boy.
The abandoned house where Willie was murdered.
2nd Degree Murder
Murch showed little emotion during the trial.
Harry and his attorney, Dana Wallace
Sentenced 20 years to life
Released from Sing Sing on parole in October, 1953
Became a butcher's assistant
Suspected in 1955 sex-slaying of a crippled 39-year-old woman
Arrested and convicted of molesting a seven-year-old girl in 1956
Harry Murch died in 1986 at the age of 69
Hours to Confess
Days on Trial
In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!