NORMAN — A man charged with Norman’s only homicide in 2012 was entered into a formal plea of not guilty by the Cleveland County District Court during arraignment.
Dustin Dale Allen, 20, of Oklahoma City, was charged with first-degree murder in September after allegedly shooting Mary Ellen Benavidez, 57, in the chest on Sept. 13 in her Norman residence.
Police responded to the call Sept. 13 just before 4 a.m. at Benavidez’s home, 1210 Stubbeman Ave. Benavidez was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead at 4:30 a.m.
According to the affidavit filed with Allen’s charge, Allen entered the home armed, searching for Benavidez’s son, Jason, who also resided at the home but was not there at the time of the incident. The affidavit stated that Allen was mad at Jason.
Detective Derek Hopkins, a Norman police officer who investigated the incident, testified during the arraignment Thursday. After Allen was apprehended, Hopkins took part in interviewing Allen, who admitted to breaking into the home and shooting Mary Ellen.
Hopkins said during the interview that Allen said he went to leave the residence when Mary Ellen had walked out and he “got startled or panicked” because “he was afraid she would say something or call the cops.”
The affidavit stated when Allen was confronted by Mary Ellen, he fired one shot at her chest as she was backing away from him. He said he believed she was scared, the affidavit stated.
After shooting the woman, Allen fled, taking off in his truck.
At that point in time, Jason had been walking back home when he heard the gunshot. Jason observed Allen fleeing from his yard and taking off in a truck. When he ran into the residence, he found his mother lying on the floor with a gunshot wound, according to the affidavit.
During Allen’s interview, Hopkins said when Allen fled the scene, Allen said he went to a Norman motel, picked up two individuals and drove to Oklahoma City. At some point in Oklahoma City, Allen demanded money from a lady in a driveway with the gun he was carrying. However, he wasn’t able to get any money from her.
Hopkins said Allen admitted in the interview that he was trying to get money to flee the state.
Allen then said he saw a cop car and took off in the truck again, which is when a police pursuit in Oklahoma City began, Hopkins said. The police were responding to an armed robbery.
Hopkins said during the pursuit, Allen said he got out of the truck he had been driving and walked to a family member’s residence, where he fell asleep.
The pursuit continued without Allen when one of the other individuals he was with took over driving. When the pursuit was stopped, Oklahoma City police identified the truck as the same one that had fled the scene from the homicide earlier that day in Norman.
Hopkins said the same weapon used in the murder was found in the truck and was consistent with shot casings found at the scene. The detective said Allen told him it was a friend’s gun.
Oklahoma City police later learned Allen’s location and took him into custody, then Norman police transported him to the Norman Police Department.
Hopkins said during the interview, Allen described in great detail the route he had taken when fleeing to Oklahoma City and recalled which streets and exits he took.
Allen had been on probation for three months when he allegedly shot and killed Benavidez. He was convicted of several misdemeanor charges of driving while under suspension, as well as a felony charge of second-degree burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property.
“What gets me more than the charge itself is the matter of months it took you to commit another crime,” Judge Walkley said during his formal arraignment Thursday.
Walkley set a conference status for Allen, which will be 1:45 p.m. May 8 at the Cleveland County Courthouse.