Lance Berning Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison After 2014 Killing of Jennifer Hedges
By Space Coast Daily // April 5, 2023
Berning sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – A Brevard County Jury found 53-year-old Lance Berning guilty of First-Degree Murder and Kidnapping, in connection to the 2014 killing of 24-year-old Jennifer Hedges.
Circuit Judge Charles Crawford presided over the 13-day trial with evidence presented by Assistant State Attorney Samantha Barrett and Assistant State Attorney Christine Babb.
After approximately three hours of deliberation, the jury returned with the guilty verdicts.
Judge Crawford adjudicated Berning guilty and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole on both offenses served consecutively.
On October 9, 2014, Brevard County Deputies responded to a 9-11 call of a body floating in the Indian River off Riverside Drive in Titusville.
Later identified as Hedges, the victim had been beaten to death and placed in the river, weighed down with concrete.
Homicide investigators learned that Berning told a friend he killed a woman and placed her weighted down body in the river.
The subsequent investigation produced evidence linking Berning to Hedges’ murder.
Testifying in his trial, Berning denied any involvement in Hedges murder.
In a statement after the trial, prosecutor Barrett thanked the jury for their hard work and thoughtful deliberations that produced the convictions.
“I’m grateful they delivered justice on behalf of Jennifer Hedges and her family,” said Barrett.
“I can’t imagine how horrible the last minutes of Jennifer’s life were. Then, Berning just threw her away like she didn’t matter. Today he (Berning) learned that Jennifer does matter, and that’s the reason he’ll spend every remaining day of his life in prison.”