Alexandria man found guilty in 2017 murder

Alexandria man found guilty in 2017 murder

By Alexa Epitropoulos |

A jury found a 27-year-old Alexandria man guilty of murder in the second degree on Tuesday, the Alexandria Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney announced in a news release.

The jury recommended the man, Robert D. Coleman, serve 10 years in prison for killing Fedelia Montiel-Benitez on July 10, 2017. 

Evidence showed Coleman encountered Montiel-Benitez inside a convenience store on the 4900 block of Seminary Road in the early morning of July 10, according to the release. Coleman didn’t know the victim. 

Robert D. Coleman (Photo courtesy Alexandria Sheriff’s Office)

Video surveillance appeared to show Coleman verbally taunting Montiel-Benitez, at which point another individual intervened. The victim said something to Coleman before leaving the store, after which Coleman appeared to become enraged. 

Coleman followed Montiel-Benitez outside of the store and struck her in the face with his fist without warning. The force of the punch knocked Montiel-Benitez unconscious and she fell to the ground, striking her head and sustaining injuries that led to her death, according to the release.

“In an all-too-often repeated theme, a tragedy unfolded because of a defendant’s inability to tolerate a perceived slight. Verbal arguments should never devolve into physical altercations between physical altercations often bring devastating consequences. So it was here, where a random encounter and brief argument inside of a store led to inexplicable violence,” Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in the release.

“Ms. Montiel-Benitez did nothing to cause such an irrational and vicious response from the defendant. I am saddened by the needless loss of life, and my thoughts are with the victim’s family.”

Coleman is being held at the Truesdale Adult Detention Center. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24.