Mistrial in Benavides murder case - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mistrial declared in Benavides murder case

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The murder trial of a former security guard charged with the death of Jackson man in 2012 ended in a hung jury Friday. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict after deliberating for hours in the case involving Jose Benavides.  

The murder victim's mother said she's still having a hard time coming to terms with her son's death. 

"My child didn't have any enemies," said Xavier McDonald. "He didn't run around and terrorize people. He kept peace."  

It's been two years since Tony Taylor Jr. was shot and killed outside an apartment complex in South Jackson. McDonald spoke to us about that night, recounting her own experience.  

"My son said, 'What have I done? Why y'all bothering me, sir? What's going on?'" said McDonald. "The man started to curse loudly where all of the people around at the time could hear him. I'm begging him, 'Leave him alone! Leave him alone! He hadn't did nothing!'"  

At that point, McDonald said Benavides, working as a security guard, fired once at point-blank range, hitting her unarmed son in the chest.  

"When I started to walk to him and ask why he killed my child, this man looked me in my eyes like I'm looking at you now, and told me, 'F--- your son,'" McDonald said.  

We spoke to McDonald before the judge declared a mistrial in the case Friday afternoon.   Benavides testified that he shot Taylor in self-defense, saying the man lunged toward him and he fired.  

"Anytime he says anything along that level, I walk out of the courtroom, because that's not what I saw," said McDonald. "That's not what I witnessed."  

What seemed a clear-cut case of murder to McDonald and her family proved more difficult for the jury to decide.  

"That's the thing about going to the courtroom, you never know until you present the evidence," said Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith. "Until you hear the evidence, until both sides present the evidence, you cannot make decisions beforehand."  

McDonald said her decision is easy because of what she witnessed.   She said what Benavides said about her son during the trial is disrespectful of his memory.  

"'Okay, he's just another dead person.' Not to me, he ain't. He's my baby," McDonald said.

Smith said they hope to re-try the case in a few months.

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