Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

November 30, 2012

Memorial service held for Valdosta State student

LAWRENCEVILLE — A large crowd gathered Thursday night at a funeral home in suburban Atlanta to remember Jasmine Benjamin, a freshman at Valdosta State University who was found dead in a campus dormitory.

Relatives and friends of the 17-year-old assembled for a private service at the Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home in Lawrenceville. Many entered through a side door, and did not speak to reporters who gathered near the building.

Benjamin, who enrolled at Valdosta State to study nursing, was found dead on a couch in a study room Nov. 18. Authorities are investigating her death as a homicide, but have not yet obtained a medical examiner’s report outlining her exact cause of death.

Benjamin’s friends say they’ll remember her smile and upbeat attitude.

“It was a blessing to meet her. She was a real nice person,” Jeremy Napier, 19, said after the service. Napier met Benjamin before the start of their freshman year. “She was a beautiful young lady. Had a kind heart, beautiful soul,” he said.  

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the probe into the circumstances surrounding Benjamin’s death. Officials say the crime lab is expediting evidence.

There were no obvious signs that a crime had occurred when Benjamin’s body was found, and Benjamin’s family has enlisted the help of Martinelli Investigations Inc., a private investigation firm based in Lawrenceville.

Judith Brogdon, Benjamin’s mother, and James Jackson, her stepfather, learned of Benjamin’s death by way of a Facebook post forwarded to them from a family friend before they were notified by authorities. 

“Unfortunately, increasingly with the use of social media people will learn about the death of a loved one through things like Facebook and other forms of social media,” said Nadine Kaslow, Emory University professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “And it feels so impersonal, so objectified, so inhuman that it makes what’s already an awful, difficult situation, worse.”

One of the investigators probing the circumstances surrounding Benjamin’s death said any surveillance video from near the scene would be helpful to the investigation.

University officials said the wiring was in place for a surveillance system in the dormitory where Benjamin died, but the cameras were on backorder and had not yet been installed when her body was found.

Thressa Boyd, a spokeswoman for Valdosta State University, said the cameras are now being installed in residence hall elevators.

Text Only
Top News
  • Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

    Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed Wednesday to form a unity government and hold new elections — a potentially historic step toward mending the rift that has split their people between two sets of rulers for seven years.

    April 24, 2014

  • Obama administration weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer.

    April 24, 2014

  • Earns Facebook_Stew.jpg Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

    Facebook’s earnings nearly tripled and revenue grew sharply in the first quarter, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations thanks to an 82 percent increase in advertising revenue.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Georgia Gun Bill_Stew.jpg Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

    Criticized by one group as the “guns everywhere” bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clemson Spring Game F_Stew.jpg Clemson’s Swinney won’t change after complaint

    Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he wouldn’t change procedures after the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s letter of complaint expressing concerns about the football program’s connection to the coach’s Christian religion.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

    April 24, 2014

  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results