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Nex Benedict: No charges to be filed after non-binary teen’s death

The teen died a day after a physical alteration at school

By Alastair James

Nex Benedict
Nex Benedict (Image: Courtesy of the Benedict family)

A prosecutor has said that no charges will be filed regarding the death of the non-binary teenager Nex Benedict, who died in February.

The 16-year-old died from severe head injuries one day after being attacked in a girl’s toilet at Owasso High School in Oklahoma. Their death led to an outpouring of grief and anger at anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.

Speaking on Thursday (21 March) Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, as per AP, concluded that the attack was an “instance of mutual combat” between Benedict and three teen girls. This meant no charges would be filed.

Kunzweiler elaborated: “When I review a report and make a decision to file a charge I must be convinced — as is every prosecutor — that a crime was committed and that I have reasonable belief that a judge or jury would be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.”

A reported suicide note was also pointed to. Last week, Benedict’s death was ruled a suicide by the Oklahoma state medical examiner. Kunzweiler added: “The precise contents of the suicide note are a personal matter which the family will have to address within the privacy of their own lives.”

Benedict’s family has indicated the teen suffered from bullying at school due to their non-binary identity. Since their death, their family has called for reforms. After Benedict’s death, Sue Benedict – Nex’s biological grandmother and legal guardian – told The Independent that Benedict had said that they had been knocked to the ground and hit their head during the altercation. Benedict’s mother had also been called to the school and found bruises and cuts on Benedict’s head. She was furious to find the school hadn’t called an ambulance or the police.

Benedict’s bullying had started, according to his mother, in 2023 after Oklahoma passed a law requiring students to use toilets matching the gender on their birth certificates. An investigation into the local school district is underway. Owasso Public Schools, as per AP, has called any allegations unsupported and without merit.