The girl's mother told the jurors during the murder trial that she has to "act like it doesn't affect me much" for her other children even if she does not feel that way.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions gun violence that some readers may find distressing.
On August 14, 2019, a 9-year-old girl was fatally shot by a stray bullet in an unfortunate incident when her home was mistakenly targeted. Brandoniya Bennett was sitting on her couch and was preparing herself for her fourth grade to begin. Three years later, the person responsible for her death, Davonte Benton, a 22-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for the murder, reports CBS News.
"The murder of this child remains a senseless and unimaginable tragedy," District Attorney John Creuzot said in a statement. "While nothing can bring Brandoniya back, I am thankful we are able to send the message that this kind of violence will not be tolerated in Dallas County", according to PEOPLE.
"She was a firecracker, full of life."— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) August 15, 2019
Police say 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett was a victim of gang violence in the Roseland Townhomes in Old East Dallas.
Read: https://t.co/avlyyJq6ng pic.twitter.com/EAtZHinwhn
On the day of the fateful incident, Bennett had painted her nails, fetched some snacks from the kitchen, and was watching TV sitting on her couch. If not for the incident, she would have started her fourth grade in a week's time. The child, who was known as someone who always had a smile on her face and a free spirit, was waiting excitedly to resume school when the gunfire started at the Roseland Townhomes in the 3500 block of Munger Avenue. She later passed away at Baylor University Medical Center. On September 5, 2019, Benton was detained on suspicion of capital murder but he pleaded not guilty.
According to police, the fight erupted between Benton and Tyrese Simmons, a 19-year-old amateur rapper. It was a social media feud about something humiliating in a rival's rap song. "In their rap songs, they dis each other," Dallas Police Department Maj. Danny Williams said, reports WBAP/KLIF. "It got to the point where this group wanted to come over and solve it by fighting."
22-year-old Davonte Benton sentenced to 45 years in prison for the murder of nine-year-old Brandoniya Bennett.— Dallas County DA (@Dallas_DA) November 15, 2022
Thank you to the prosecution team, investigators, & jury for ensuring that justice was done on behalf of Brandoniya. pic.twitter.com/cQlNedMYvC
Sontravia Elder, the girl's mother told the jurors during the murder trial that she has to "act like it doesn't affect me much" for her other children even if she does not feel that way, per the Dallas Morning News. “But I’m damaged to my core,” she said adding that she feels like a different person after the death of her beloved daughter. Kelly Brennion, assistant principal at Bennett's school at the time of the incident said, “Brandoniya was effervescent. She was bubbly and she was sparkly. She was a very happy young girl that had a lot of friends.”
Brandoniya Bennett would have started fourth-grade a week later were she not killed inside her home on August 14, 2019. https://t.co/TVoGGnFfWP— CBS DFW (@CBSDFW) November 15, 2022
Ashton Elder, Bennett's aunt, extended forgiveness to Benton after the jurors had determined his sentence. In a victim impact statement, she addressed Benton and said that she believes he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and hopes that he would reflect about his role in the crime. Bennett's grandma told WFAA that, she pleaded with her granddaughter to wake up. "I said Niya, 'Get up. Get up for granny one more time.'" In between sobs, she said, "She was the sweetest thing." In order to assist the family with funeral costs, a GoFundMe campaign was created.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe