Virginia Man Said He ‘Punched’ Woman for Calling Him the N-Word, Jury Claims M-Word (As in Murder) is in Order

*Robert Coleman may spend the next 10 years in prison after he admitted he punched a woman at a 7-eleven store because he said she called him the n-word.

Fedelia Montiel-Benitez died in a hospital 10 days later.

Coleman, 27, was unsuccessful in an Alexandria circuit Court when he told the jury of 12 that he “snapped” when Montiel-Benitez  aimed the racial slur at him, and that when he punched her he didn’t intend to kill her. But prosecutors said the woman did not speak enough English to use such a word. They added that even if she did use the word Coleman’s response was unjustified.

“Words alone” are no reason to kill, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Lord said in closing arguments.

Surveillance video from the store, located near the Mark Center on Seminary Road, showed the two in a 45-second conversation, but there was no audio. Coleman was there to buy cigarettes, and Montiel-Benitez was purchasing alcohol. 

“We of course remain disappointed that they didn’t see it as manslaughter,” Coleman’s attorney, Robert Jenkins, said after the jury returned. He said Coleman and his family were “grateful” for the jury’s recommended sentence, given that second-degree murder can carry a punishment of up to 40 years. It reflected, Jenkins said, “that this was not something that he wanted to happen, that he did not intend to take someone’s life.”

The Washington Post reports…

Coleman’s girlfriend, Nikki Howard, testified she could not hear the entire conversation but broke the two up. In the video, Montiel-Benitez is seen walking to the door and then turning.

Coleman says that is when she called him the n-word; Howard remembered her cursing. In the video Coleman can be seen chasing Montiel-Benitez outside.

 Through the leaves of a tree, another camera captures the punch that put Montiel-Benitez in a coma from which she did not recover.
 
Coleman fled the scene, but the next day he was apprehended by detectives who recognized him from the footage. He denied any involvement at first, but admitted to punching the heavy-set woman with short hair — thinking she was a man.
 
The statement did not sit well with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Lord, who called the description as well as the admittance that the woman’s blood alcohol level was .351 “disrespectful to the dead.”
 
Coleman will be formally sentenced by a judge on May 24.
 

2 thoughts on “Virginia Man Said He ‘Punched’ Woman for Calling Him the N-Word, Jury Claims M-Word (As in Murder) is in Order”

  1. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Using violence against someone only using words is indeed stupid. Looks like he may very well win the grand prize. 10 years of his life locked up like the animal he portrayed. Well, on the bright side, behind bars, he’ll have the opportunity to punch away at anyone who calls him a name. Dumb ass.

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