Grenada Man Charged With Tourist's Murder in Machete Attack

Dave Martin Benjamin could face death penalty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 27, 2016 2:48 PM CST
WSB video screenshot   (WSB video )

(Newser) – A man accused of killing a tourist from Georgia in a machete attack on an isolated beach in Grenada made his first appearance Wednesday before a judge on the Caribbean island to face a charge of capital murder. Dave Martin Benjamin did not enter a plea and was not given an opportunity to speak in the brief hearing. The 27-year-old could get the death penalty if convicted. Benjamin surrendered to authorities Monday, a day after the body of Jessica Colker, a 39-year-old physician's assistant from Atlanta, was found in a wooded area near an isolated beach where she had been walking with her husband. Benjamin became the chief suspect because people had seen him begging on the beach before the incident.

Police say Benjamin waylaid Colker and Brian Melito around noon on Sunday as they walked along the shore, the AP reports. The husband fled to get help and his wife was missing when he returned. Her body was found later that day in a wooded area. An autopsy found that she died from extensive skull fracture and asphyxia. Acting Police Commissioner Winston James said there were signs of sexual assault. Police said earlier that Benjamin was convicted of robbery and burglary in 2009 and of a rape in 2013. He was released early from prison in November because of good behavior.

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