9-Year-Old Black Girl Shot by Stray Bullet While Getting Snack, Man Sentenced 45 Years
Nine-year-old Brandoniya Bennett was shot and killed inside her Dallas apartment on Aug. 14, 2019. The man involved in her death was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Monday.
A jury in Dallas County convicted Davonte Benton, 22, for murder in connection to the little girl’s death after her Old East Dallas townhome was mistakenly targeted in a shooting, the Dallas Morning News reported. Bennett was instantly killed by the stray bullet when she walked back to the couch after she grabbed a snack in the kitchen.
Benton was also fined $10,000.
Affectionately known as “Niya” or “Niy-Niy,” Bennett was excited to start the new school year at Cesar Chavez Learning Center as a fourth grader. She even had her nails freshly painted for her first day.
“The murder of this child remains a senseless and unimaginable tragedy,” District Attorney John Creuzot said in a statement, per People.
During Benton’s trial, Bennett’s mom, Sontravia Elder, told the court that she has to remain strong for her other children, but she still struggles with the tragic loss.
“I’m damaged to my core,” Elder said. “I have to act like it doesn’t affect me as much as it does.”
Tonya Elder, Bennett’s grandmother, remembered her beloved granddaughter as “the sweetest thing,” per WFAA.
The Dallas Police Department confirmed that Benton was accompanied by amateur rapper Tyrese Simmons, 19, who was allegedly upset with a rival’s rap lyrics about him.
Benton “was part of a group involved in a fight next door,” Creuzot said, per People.
“The fight broke up but he and another man ran around to the back and fired several gunshots into the wrong unit.”
Bennett was rushed to the Baylor University Medical Center, where she was declared dead.
On Sept. 5, 2019, Benton was placed under arrest on a capital murder charge. He pleaded not guilty.
Simmons turned himself into the Dallas Police the day after the shooting and was charged with capital murder as he awaits trial. He also pleaded not guilty.
“Brandoniya was effervescent,” said former assistant principal Kelly Brennion, per Dallas Morning News. “She was bubbly and she was sparkly. She was a very happy young girl that had a lot of friends.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family with funeral expenses amid other financial burdens.