PROVIDENCE -- Jaheeim Benton, 21, whose last known address was 33 Cole St., Pawtucket, pleaded guilty this week in Superior Court on all counts in the July 2010 assault of Tito Fadul and William Cotto Jr. in Pawtucket, according to Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. The guilty plea came just as jury selection was set to begin. Benton is the twin brother of Kasean Benton, who was shot and killed by Donald Young in July 2009. Young was found guilty last week of that murder and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Benton pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (firearm), two counts of discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and one count of possession of a firearm without a permit to carry.
He is eligible to receive the maximum sentence allowed by law; he can receive up to 20 years on each count of assault with a dangerous weapon, 10 years on each count of discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the assault counts, and 10 years on the count of possessing a firearm without a permit to carry.
Benton had been out on bail prior to the trial, but bail was immediately revoked. He was ordered held at the ACI pending sentencing, scheduled for June 8.
Had the matter proceeded to trial, the state would have shown that on July 15, 2010 Tito Fadul was completing renovations on his home located at 50 West Ave. in Pawtucket when he saw an individual on the side of his house trying to hide something. Fadul immediately recognized the individual as Jaheeim Benton, who had lived across the street a few years prior. Fadul approached the defendant and asked what he was doing in his yard. The defendant responded that he was hiding something. An argument ensued and after the defendant refused repeated requests from Fadul to leave, he had to be forcibly removed from the property.
Approximately two hours later, Fadul and a neighbor, Christopher Cotto, Jr., along with two other individuals, were standing in the driveway of Fadulâ€™s house when Benton approached them with a black semi-automatic gun. Benton fired one round in the immediate direction of where Fadul and Cotto were standing. Benton then fled the area on foot. Neither Fadul nor Cotto were hit by the bullet.
The Pawtucket Police immediately responded to the emergency calls of the shooting. The shooter was identified by Fadul as Jaheeim Benton. An arrest warrant was issued, and Benton was taken into custody the following day by the Pawtucket Police during a traffic stop.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Regine managed the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General. Detectives Charles â€śChipâ€ť Devine and Susan Cormier led the investigation for the Pawtucket Police.