A Virginia man who delivered a fatal blow to a woman who he claims called him the n-word during a confrontation at an Alexandria convenience store, last year, was found guilty of murder in the second degree on Tuesday, April 3.
It was on July 10 of 2017 that Robert D. Coleman, 27, and Fedelia Montiel-Benitez, 39, crossed paths at a 7-Eleven location on the 4900 block of Seminary Road. Coleman had been in the establishment to purchase cigarettes and Montiel-Benitez was buying alcohol. At some point a dispute broke out between the two and Coleman’s girlfriend, Nikki Howard, stepped in with the intention of diffusing the situation. But her good faith would prove ineffective when moments later Montiel-Benitez reengaged Coleman and he followed her outside.
Surveillance footage of the incident shows the woman turn around and say something to Coleman just before she exited the store. A separate recording that was taken outside captures Coleman as knocks her unconscious with a single punch to the face. Little did he realize at that point that he had just put Montiel-Benitez into a coma that she would never recover from. When police tracked Coleman down he first denied any involvement in the incident but eventually came around to confessing to the attack. He was arrested for assault, but that charge was elevated when she died in the hospital ten days later.
Coleman’s defense pointed to Montiel Benitez’s .351 blood alcohol level in an attempt to portray her as a drunken aggressor. They also contended that her heavy body type and short hair had convinced their client that he was dealing with another man. Ultimately, though, it was his claim that she hurled the n-word at him that put him into a rage. But the jury didn’t buy his case and have recommended that he serve a 10-year sentence for taking a woman’s life on that day.
Coleman’s sentencing date is scheduled for May 24.