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February 15, 2013

Murder suspect arraigned

NORMAN — A man charged with Norman’s only homicide in 2012 was entered into a formal plea of not guilty by the Cleveland County District Court during arraignment.

Dustin Dale Allen, 20, of Oklahoma City, was charged with first-degree murder in September after allegedly shooting Mary Ellen Benavidez, 57, in the chest on Sept. 13 in her Norman residence.

Police responded to the call Sept. 13 just before 4 a.m. at Benavidez’s home, 1210 Stubbeman Ave. Benavidez was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead at 4:30 a.m.

According to the affidavit filed with Allen’s charge, Allen entered the home armed, searching for Benavidez’s son, Jason, who also resided at the home but was not there at the time of the incident. The affidavit stated that Allen was mad at Jason.

Detective Derek Hopkins, a Norman police officer who investigated the incident, testified during the arraignment Thursday. After Allen was apprehended, Hopkins took part in interviewing Allen, who admitted to breaking into the home and shooting Mary Ellen.

Hopkins said during the interview that Allen said he went to leave the residence when Mary Ellen had walked out and he “got startled or panicked” because “he was afraid she would say something or call the cops.”

The affidavit stated when Allen was confronted by Mary Ellen, he fired one shot at her chest as she was backing away from him. He said he believed she was scared, the affidavit stated.

After shooting the woman, Allen fled, taking off in his truck.

At that point in time, Jason had been walking back home when he heard the gunshot. Jason observed Allen fleeing from his yard and taking off in a truck. When he ran into the residence, he found his mother lying on the floor with a gunshot wound, according to the affidavit.

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