Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 18, 2014

Meheux convicted of killing VSU student

VALDOSTA — The 19-year-old on trial for the 2012 death of a Valdosta State University freshman was convicted Friday and sentenced to life in prison.

Darien Jospeh Meheux Jr., 19, was found guilty of the murder of Jasmine Benjamin, a 17-year-old VSU freshman who was found dead in a study room on the fifth floor of her dorm. The jury deliberated for an hour and a half before delivering their verdict. Meheux was sentenced by Southern Circuit Judge James Tunison to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Assistant District Attorney Brad Shealy said his office is happy with the verdict and said Assistant District Attorney Tracy Chapman did “an excellent job” laying out the facts of the case.

“The death of a young person is always tragic, and I extend my sympathy to the parents as they deal with such a painful part of their child’s life. I appreciate the service of the jurors and respect the jury’s decision,” said Laverne Gaskins, counsel for VSU.

Meheux’s lawyer, Steve Roberts, rested his case Thursday and began Friday’s proceedings with his closing argument that focused heavily on the lack of physical evidence against his client. He also questioned the reliability of testimony from two Lowndes County Jail inmates who had befriended Meheux.

Roberts asked the jury if they could trust the word of Gregory Fields and Maurice Golden, inmates who testified that Meheux confessed to killing Benjamin and that the three of them held a mock trial in an attempt to strengthen Meheux’s defense.

Roberts also reminded the jury that three days before her death, Benjamin sent text messages to Meheux about adopting a puppy, a sign, Roberts argued, that the pair had a friendly relationship.

In her closing argument, assistant district attorney Tracy Chapman reminded the jury of the medical examiner who testified that Benjamin was physically assaulted for five to ten minutes before she was strangled and that evidence suggested that she was also sexually assaulted.

Chapman presented a timeline of events that showed Meheux entering the Georgia Hall dorm building shortly after 3 p.m., stalking Benjamin for two and a half hours, assaulting her for five to ten minutes, entering a stairwell looking for an exit at 5:27 p.m. and then entering a stairwell with Jasmine’s shoes and purse that he attempted to hide from security cameras.

Chapman said there were two pieces of evidence that proved Meheux’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The first was the testimony from a VSU student who said she saw Benjamin’s body propped up in a stairwell. The witness identified Meheux as a man she saw in the doorway to the stairwell who said Benjamin was drunk.

Fields and Golden testified that Meheux was worried about the girl who had seen him in the stairwell. Information about that encounter was withheld from the public. Chapman argued that if Meheux was not the man in the stairwell then he would not have been able to tell Fields and Golden about it.

Chapman’s second piece of evidence was the fact that Meheux communicated with Benjamin on an almost constant basis but did not call or text her after learning that a body was found in Georgia Hall. Meheux did not even call after learning that the person’s name was Jasmine, said Chapman.

“Dead girls don’t answer cell phones,” said Chapman, “The only person who knew that she was dead was Darien Meheux.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140412-TownHallMtg_2 copy 2.jpg Rep. Sharper holds town hall meeting

    Saturday morning, State Rep. Dexter Sharper held a town hall meeting at Crossing Jordan Baptist Church to meet with concerned citizens of Valdosta, share his feelings toward bills on the governor’s desk and to discuss the upcoming Let Us Make Man event.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140412-EasterEggHunt10 copy 2.jpg Kids have an egg-ceptional time

    The Therapeutic Division of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority held hosted the “Egg-ceptional” Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Children Saturday.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police_Car_2 2 copy 2.jpg Numbers show overall drop in crime in Valdosta

     Responding to what he believes is a public perception that crime is out of control, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress presented statistics to the city council this week demonstrating an overall decline in crime for more than a decade and said the perception may be due to his department’s openness with the media.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140410-Sewage001.jpg City sewage woes continue

    Calculating the total gallons of treated and untreated sewage that the City of Valdosta has spilled into the Withlacoochee River and its tributaries is difficult because it has been going on for over 25 to 30 years.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results