Yashanee Vaughn's family wants change after courtroom bombshell - WNEM TV 5

Yashanee Vaughn's family wants change after courtroom bombshell

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Yashanee Vaughn Yashanee Vaughn
Parrish Bennette Parrish Bennette

The family of Yashanee Vaughn is considering legal action and may possibly push for a law change after learning attorneys for Yashanee's killer knew where the girl's body was for months without telling police.

Parrish Bennette shot and killed Yashanee, then disposed of her body on Rocky Butte in 2011. He received an 18-year prison sentence last week after pleading guilty to manslaughter in a plea deal.

Yashanee's family said they spent the weekend unwinding from an emotional Friday in court, and also started looking into where they go from here in their mission to find justice for Yashanee.

They first learned of the attorneys' knowledge of the whereabouts of Yashanee's body in court on Friday.

The attorneys said the decision to delay telling police the whereabouts of the body was made by Bennette's defense team, not by Bennette himself.

Reynelda Hayes, Yashanee's grandmother, said an apology from the defense team was not enough.

"That apology was really quick. It didn't even sound like an apology. It was a statement that was made," she said.

Administrators with the Metropolitan Public Defenders, the group that represents Bennette, said their lawyers did nothing wrong legally by keeping the location of Yashanee's body a secret.

While keeping the information quiet from the Vaughn family was morally difficult, they did so because it was in the best interest of their client and the case.

Yashanee's family said that's not reason enough, and something must be done to change the law.

"I don't want it to happen to anyone else's family. It's an outrage. It's sad. I don't know how any human could have a heart and do that, and sit there and know what we were going through and still not say anything," Hayes said.

The Vaughn family wouldn't get into specifics in regards to what type of action they plan to take. A family representative said they plan to meet with lawyers to discuss a potential lawsuit and also meet with local leaders to discuss a change in legislation.

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