Convicted P.T. Cole Park murderer gets life in prison, family believes he is innocent

Convicted P.T. Cole Park murderer gets life in prison, family believes he is innocent

TYLER (KYTX)- Dennis Bendy sat silent, in handcuffs as Judge Skeen delivered his sentence for the murder of Briana Young at P.T. Cole Park last year.

"The court assesses your sentence in the case as life confinement in the Texas Department of corrections institution," Judge Jack Skeen Jr. said. 

As family and friends comforted each other, Judge Skeen stressed that gang members do not have a right to claim certain parts of town.

"This is one of those cases as reflected by the evidence that at some point gangs in Tyler and Smith County and the members of those gangs are going to have to understand that they don't own the parks and they don't own the city. They don't have turf that they own," Skeen said.

But Bendy's family insists that bendy is not a gang member and still thinks he's innocent.

"There's a lot wrong with what's going on here, my son is innocent," Bendy's father Dennis Ray Bendy said. "My son is not a gang member."

Bendy's father says he sat through the trial and doesn't believe his son was even at the park when the shooting happened.

"The evidence that came across the witness stand, I sat and listened to every bit of it and I remember every word for word every testimony that was given," Bendy said. "I heard nothing to put my son at that park, nothing."

District Attorney Matt Bingham argued for a life sentence and is pleased with the result and the message the court is sending to gang members.

"He deserves nothing less than a life sentence," Bingham said.

But Bendy's family says the fight is not over.

"I'm going to do everything in power to prove my son is innocent. my health is failing me, I'm not healthy right now due to the stress I'm going through with this," Bendy said.

Bendy's father told us Bendy and his attorneys will file an appeal.

Bendy will be eligible for parole after 30 years. 

The other two co-defendants in the case are awaiting trials.


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