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Watch: Killer Lured Victim with Grindr, Texas Police Say

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday February 24, 2021

Police say a convict in Houston, Texas used Grindr to lure a gay man, intending to rob him but killing him instead. The suspect has been charged with capital murder.

The suspect, 29-year-old Benjamin Davis, has a prior "history of violence," reports local news channel KPRC. "He served two years in prison for choking a family member in 2018," the report adds.

After his release from prison, "looking for money, he allegedly opened an account on Grindr," apparently believing the app would make it easy for him to get into the homes of men targeted for robbery.

Davis told authorities that the first man he met with using the hookup app was Victor Najera Betanzos, the KPRC story said.

"According to police, Davis told them he turned on Betanzos once he was in his apartment, knocking him unconscious," the story added, going on to detail how Davis said he then "used a scarf to strangle" Betanzos before pouring bleach over the body "in an effort to destroy evidence".

Assistant Harris County District Attorney Chandler Raine took note of how "the level of violence" in the crime "stands out" - a not unusual aspect of bias-driven crimes.

By his own account, Davis stole the victim's phone, iPad, and truck after killing him. Police apprehended Davis on Feb. 20 as he drove Betanzos' truck.

Davis remains in custody. His bind has been set at half a million dollars.

Houston police and DA Raine urged users of dating apps to vet potential hookups carefully. Men's Health offers tips for users of Grindr and other hookup apps.

To watch the new clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.