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January 14, 2013

Man to stand trial for 2012 murder

NORMAN — A judge decided last week that a man charged with Norman’s only homicide in 2012 will stand trial.

Dustin Dale Allen, 20, was charged with first-degree murder in September after he allegedly shot Mary Ellyn Benavidez, 57, in the chest Sept. 13 in the early morning.

A police affidavit filed with the charges alleges that Allen was angry and had gone to the residence at 1210 Stubbman Ave. with a firearm looking for Benavidez’s son, Jason, who had left the residence.

Instead, according to the affidavit, Allen kicked in the front door and was confronted by Mary Benavidez, who he shot in the chest as she was backing away from him.

Records show that Jason Benavidez heard the gunshot as he was walking back to the residence and called police upon finding his mother. She was taken to Norman Regional Hospital, where she later died.

Jason Benavidez reportedly observed Allen leaving the residence in a light-colored Dodge Caliber. Allen was arrested by Oklahoma City police, who were responding to an attempted armed robbery a short time later in which the suspect was driving a light-colored Dodge Caliber.

Allen also is ordered to stand trial on a burglary charge.

Neighbors of Benavidez said they were suspicious of the activity and the high amount of traffic at the Norman home where the shooting occurred. When one individual moved into the area, he was told by surrounding neighbors that they knew the people living at the home sold drugs, but they didn’t call the cops on them.

The neighbor also said he believed the house had been under investigation by police for seven months. Other neighbors also saw police patrolling the area frequently.

About a month after the incident, another shooting in the area occurred, but the woman survived.

Allen has had previous brushes with the law but has not previously been convicted of any violent crimes.

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