I think there’s a special place in hell reserved for Tiffany Bennett, Philadelphia, currently facing trial on four counts each of conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children, that in the August 2003 death of her daughter, three-year-old Porchia Bennett, for which the elder Bennett’s live-in boyfriend, Jerry Chambers has been charged with first-degree murder (along with charges of raping Porchia’s 10-year-old sister), and the abuse of her other children.
There is, however, a would-be hero in this tragic story: Porchia’s grandfather, Oliver Bynum Sr., as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wednesday, May 11 (“Jury in Girl’s Death Sees Note to School,” by Jacqueline Soteropoulos):
Jurors weighing the case of slain 3-year-old Porchia Bennett viewed a letter yesterday in which her mother ordered a school to keep away her eldest daughter’s paternal grandfather.
In the trial over the child’s death, the prosecutor earlier suggested to jurors that in addition to essentially abandoning her children to the man she paid to care for them, Porchia’s mother, Tiffany Bennett, tried to conceal their declining conditions from the caring grandfather.
“I, Tiffany Bennett give Kirkbride School permission to keep [the 10-year-old girl’s] grandfather away from the school during and after school hours,” stated the handwritten note, dated March 25, 2003.
Oliver Bynum Sr. told investigators he had helped raise the girl and walked her to school until Bennett ensured he no longer had contact with the child. Even then, he said, he continued to deliver lunches to the school in hopes that his granddaughter would receive them.
In case you’re not already aware, and again here quoting from the Inquirer: “Porchia was discovered dead wedged between a bed and a wall in August 2003. Investigators believe defendant Jerry Chambers threw her into a nearby radiator. . . . Porchia’s aunt, Candice Geiger, 20, is charged with third-degree murder. Prosecutors say she participated in the fatal beating. One of Porchia’s sisters, now 8, testified previously that Geiger told Chambers to throw Porchia behind the bed after the couple caught Porchia watching them having sex.”