Lawrence County man sentenced to life in prison in first-degree murder case

Lawrence County man convicted of woman's murder

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - A Mississippi County jury sentenced a Lawrence County man late Thursday to life in prison in connection to a 2018 murder in Blytheville.

According to a media release from Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, Harold Bennett, 44, of Walnut Ridge was found guilty by a jury in the death of Bianca Rainer, 29, of Blytheville.

At the time, authorities said Bennett, who is a Level 4 sex offender, admitted to assaulting and killing her.

Ellington said Bennett received an additional 15 years in prison for a firearms enhancement, with Circuit Judge Cindy Thyer accepting the recommendation from the jury.

Ellington noted that prosecutors and Blytheville police played a huge role in the investigation.

“Deputy Prosecutors Curtis Walker and Gina Knight worked very hard to present this case, and we are all pleased with the conviction for this heinous crime against a young woman and mother who was in the prime of her life,” Ellington said in a statement to Region 8 News. “I appreciate the hard work put in by the Blytheville Police Department, as well the jury’s time in listening to the case, considering the facts, and delivering this just verdict.”

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