A Virginia man was found guilty of 2nd-degree murder after an altercation with a woman outside a 7-Eleven in July ended up killing her.
A jury recommends Robert D. Coleman, 27, spend 10 years in prison after punching Fedelia Montiel-Benitez unconscious resulting in her death after she hit her head on the pavement.
Coleman told detectives at the time of the incident that Benitez called him the n-word during an exchange that was caught on surveillance video, which led to the attack. Prosecutors argued that she did not know enough English to use the slur, but if she did that his response was uncalled for, the Washington Post reports.
Coleman’s lawyers said that he did not intend for her to die and that he should have been charged with manslaughter rather than murder.
“We, of course, remain disappointed that they didn’t see it as manslaughter,” Coleman’s attorney, Robert Jenkins, said once the jury returned. Attorney’s noted that Coleman’s family was grateful for the 10-year sentence since a manslaughter charge can carry up to 40 years in prison, according to Washington Post.
Coleman and Benitez did not know one another but exchanged words outside the store. Coleman’s girlfriend testified that she broke the argument up, but did not hear all of the exchange.
After Benitez allegedly called Coleman a racial slur, he can be seen running after her and punching her.
She went into a coma and died 10 days later, according to reports.
He also told detectives that he thought she was a man due to her size and haircut, Washington Post reports.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.