He was arrested in February 2006 on three counts of car burglary and two counts of attempted theft. Two months later he was convicted of one count of car burglary and sentenced by General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland to one year of supervised probation.
On Nov. 5, 2006, Benitez was rearrested on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The following day he was convicted of all three charges and sentenced by General Sessions Judge William Higgins to seven days in jail. [Police say TSU senior athlete killed by illegal immigrant driving drunk, Nashville City Paper 6/19/07]
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Joycelyn was only 22 when her life was taken. She was about to graduate from Tennessee State University at the end of summer with a degree in criminal justice and planned on attending law school. She had been a competitive runner since the ninth grade and was a member of the TSU women's track team. She was remembered as a track star back in Port Arthur:
Tom Halliburton, longtime sports writer at The [Port Arthur] News, was saddened to hear of Gardiner's death.
"I remember when she started out in ninth grade at Lincoln. She really didn't look like she'd have a chance at becoming anything in track and field. It was through her desire, dedication and hard work that she became a great track and field star," he said. "She later went on to represent Lincoln at a state meet." [ PA woman killed in Tenn car wreck, Port Arthur News 6/19/07]
In small town America, a ninth-grade girl with a lot of grit is still noticed and is remembered years later. What a pity that Jocelyn's promising future was ended before it began.
Nashville has had several shocking DUI deaths at the hands of illegal aliens in the last while, including Sean and Donna Wilson and Charlie Derrington. As a result, the city instituted a program in April of checking the immigration status on every foreign-born person arrested. But the increased vigilance was too late to nail Victor Benitez.