Show to air about Adams case

Staff report


The saga of Bennie Adams, who once faced a death sentence for the 1985 murder of a Youngstown State University student, will be shown on the Investigation Discovery channel Saturday.

The story of Adams, 60, who was convicted in 2008 for the murder of Gina Tenney, will be shown at 10 p.m. on the channel as part of the series, “Your Worst Nightmare.”

Researchers for the show interviewed Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutors Martin Desmond and Dawn Cantalamessa, who prosecuted the case; and Youngstown police Detectives Mike Landers and Bill Blanchard, now retired, who were the lead investigators.

Adams was a strong suspect in the death of Tenney, who was found raped and strangled Dec. 29, 1985, in the Mahoning River underneath the West Avenue railroad bridge. The two lived in the same North Side apartment building.

Prosecutors at the time would not charge Adams, saying they did not have enough evidence. That finally happened after DNA evidence preserved by the late Youngstown police Detective Sgt. Joe DeMatteo, who processed the crime scene, was matched to Adams after testing by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Adams was sentenced to death but that sentence was overturned by the state Supreme Court on appeal. Adams is now serving life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years.

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