Investigation Discovery’s ‘Killer in Question: The Bingo Queen’ discusses one of the most harrowing cases that we have ever come across as true crime buffs. Olga Parlante, a 71-year-old widow, was murdered in her Florida apartment back in 1997. The culprit? A career criminal who was known to prey on the old. He is also the subject of this article.
Who is Bennie Hall?
It was Bennie Hall who was held culpable for the 1997 murder of Olga Parlante in her Dania Beach apartment. She was also known as the “Bingo Queen,” and was beaten, strangled with a blouse, and dragged back into her residence during a robbery gone wrong. The following morning, on March 13, 1997, her granddaughter, Angie Nihoff, discovered the corpse. (What is even more distressing is the fact that she had been rendered partially paralyzed due to previous heart attacks and strokes).
Even though fingerprints and palm prints were collected from the walls of the apartment, the inside of Olga’s pocketbook, and a dresser drawer, the police had no leads back in the day since there was no database against which they could compare the sample. However, 15 years after the crime, they caught a break due to advancements in technology, and the cold case was solved.
The prints were confirmed to be Hall’s, and interestingly, he was arrested for possession of cocaine 5 days after Olga had been murdered. Fred Parlante, her son, said, “I am so happy we were one of the first new cases. Not only for this family, but, God forbid, for the next family that can be helped by this technology. Losing a mother or a father — that is the hardest thing in the world.” Allegedly, the suspect had even beaten and robbed an 87-year-old man at his home in Miami-Dade in 2000.
Where is Bennie Hall Now?
Although it took 15 years before Hall was identified as Olga’s killer, it took another 6 years to convict him. Keep in mind that he was already serving another sentence for a non-related drug charge in Martin County and was to be set free in 2017. At the trial (which took place in May 2018), Joseph Burke, the Assistant Public Defender, pointed out that authorities had not ruled out other possible culprits. (It is noteworthy that while the cops did feel that there was more than one person on the wrong side of the law that night, they were never able to find concrete proof about the alleged accomplice’s identity).
Burke also stated that fingerprint experts had opposing views about the evidence found at the scene. Lastly, he argued that DNA belonging to neither the victim nor the defendant was found in the apartment, which could imply that the prints were left behind by the “real” murderer.
Fred stated, “I want him away for the rest of his life. For 15 years, I never put up a Christmas tree or had any decorations, because that was my mother’s favorite day. To her dying day, she was all about her grandchildren and great grandchildren and Christmas was her day. Well, this year, we’re going to have a Christmas tree.”
Eventually, Hall was sentenced to life in prison on charges of first-degree murder. However, he has always proclaimed his innocence— “The last thing I would do is take another person’s life. Of all the crimes I have committed, the one thing I have never done is take a person’s life.” If reports are to be believed, then he is at the Broward County Main Jail.
Read More: How Did Olga Parlante Die?