DELPHOS — A petition drive underway in the Delphos area is aimed at convincing the Ohio Adult Parole Authority to keep a convicted murderer behind bars for the remainder of what was handed down 45 years ago as a life prison sentence.
Robin Bender, now 65, was convicted in late 1974 for the murders in July that year of Louis and Kenneth Youngpeter during a home robbery on Gerdeman Road, just west of Delphos.
Kenneth Youngpeter’s wife, Judy, was seriously injured in the incident.
Authorities say Bender, a native of Columbus Grove, randomly picked the Gerdeman Road home to break into and found Kenneth and Judy Youngpeter inside. Bender forced Judy Youngpeter to tie up her husband and then shot him. Judy ran and was shot in the back but was able to continue running to a neighbor’s house, where she collapsed. Bender reportedly attempted to kill two other women at the neighbor’s home.
Kenneth Youngpeter’s father, Louis, showed up shortly after the incident began and discovered Bender in the Youngpeter home. Bender used a 12-gauge shotgun to shoot the elder Youngpeter outside the home.
Bender is currently serving a life sentence at the Madison Correctional Institution, having entered the Ohio prison system in December of 1974 following his conviction in Van Wert County on two counts of aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault. Information on the website of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Bender was convicted of attempted escape in 1976 and of obstructing justice in 1977 while in prison.
With the Ohio parole board scheduled to hold a hearing in February into a request from Bender for parole, family members of the victims have dropped off petitions at Delphos area businessess hoping to collect signatures to be delivered to the state parole board in time for the hearing.
One family member, contacted by telephone on Tuesday, said past petition drives have been overwhelmingly successful.
“One year we got over 10,000 signatures, which we were told was the most ever” for a single parole board hearing. “The Delphos/Van Wert community does not want this man to get out of prison,” the family spokesperson said.
A Columbus man has volunteered to help set up a website to collect additional signatures, said the spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous “because we (family members) are afraid” of Bender.
The web address will be announced to the public once it is established.
The upcoming parole hearing will be the sixth since Bender became eligible for such hearings after serving 20 years of his sentence.