Eric Nenno (Eric Charles Nenno)

Eric Nenno

Nicole Benton from Hockley, Texas disappeared on March 23, 1995, during a birthday party organized by and for her father Buddy Benton, a friend and a neighbor of Eric Nenno who lived a few houses down the road of the Bentons. The house where Nenno was residing belonged to the Bentons.  As Buddy was playing with his country music band, Nenno decoyed Nicole, who was playing in the front yard, to his home on the pretense of getting a guitar to join the music group. The moment Nenno and Nicole were inside his home he struggled to rape her. As Nicole cried and resisted, he strangled her to death. He then raped her lifeless body for several days and hid her corpse in his attic, stuffing her clothing in a filing cabinet. Nicole’s polka-dotted dress, glasses and shoes were found in this cabinet.  A few days after Nicole’s disappearance law enforcement showed up at Nenno’s home for questioning. Neighbors had told Detective Johnson that Nenno, a former plumbing supply salesman, had previously been accused of groping a six-year-old neighborhood girl two years before. Johnson then referred it to Detectives Wedgeworth and Taber for a follow-up investigation. Wedgeworth and Taber went to the Nenno’s home at 17602 Bullis Gap three times on the afternoon of March 25, 1995, because Nenno,although home, did not open the door on the several occasions police were there.

On the third occasion, Nenno, dressed only in a white bath-towel around his waist, finally answered the door. Nenno indicated that he was willing to talk about the missing girl and invited the detectives to enter the house. Nenno seemed greatly cooperative and willing to speak. When the detectives asked whether he knew Nicole, he became obviously nervous and shaky and denied knowing or ever seeing her before. Nenno then authorized the detectives to search his house. Detective Wedgeworth conducted a slight search, but found nothing out of the ordinary.  The detectives asked Nenno why somebody in the neighborhood asked for him to be checked out. Nenno replied there was an incident in the spring when he was accused of trying to lure a girl into his house and pull off her pants. After this question, Nenno became visibly shaken and became much more nervous. The two detectives had been at Nennos house approximately ten minutes, and before leaving, the detectives asked him if he could show up at the command post for further questioning. After signing a legal release, Nenno stated he had no problem with that. Police informed Nenno that several blocks away a trailer had been set up as a command post for the ongoing search of Nicole bu law enforcement as well as the voluntary community of Hockley. Wedgeworth and Taber later stated they made no promises or threats to Nenno during this initial encounter.

On February 1, 1996 the Harris County jury, that considered the case, deliberated about 11 hours, before deciding on the death penalty against Eric Nenno.  In an interview from death row one week before his scheduled execution, Nenno said that at the time of the killing, he was addicted to pornography and had been drinking. He also said, though, that nothing could excuse, his crime. “I can’t apologize enough,” he said.  On October 28, 2008, Eric Charles Nenno, was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville Unit in Texas. Nenno did not look at Buddy Benton or the other members of the victim’s family who attended his execution. When asked if he wanted to make a last statement, he replied, “No, warden.” The lethal injection was then started. He gasped four times and eight minutes later at 6:20 p.m., Nenno was pronounced dead.


  • April, 13, 1961


  • October, 28, 2008
  • USA
  • Huntsville, Texas

Cause of Death

  • execution by lethal injection

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