Zionsville man sentenced to 50 years for 2019 Rail Trail murder

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ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — A judge sentenced a Zionsville man to nearly half a century behind bars for the killing of Samuel Bennett in 2019.

James E. Hughes, 26, pled guilty but mentally ill to one count of murder. He was sentenced to 50 years at the Department of Corrections with five years suspended followed by two years of probation.

Bennett was found shot dead in a retention area near Zionsville Town Hall on April 28, 2019. Investigators determined Bennett had been going for a morning run on Rail Trail when he was shot by Hughes.

Hughes and Bennett did not know each other, investigators said. The killing was labeled an act of random violence.

“Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the Bennett family and friends,” said Prosecutor Kent Eastwood. “This was a tragic, random act that shook the family and the Zionsville community. We hope the guilty plea and the sentence imposed can help bring some healing.”

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