|For Immediate Release
Case # 06ZF0129 March 5, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR STABBING MURDER OF ROOMMATE ON HALLOWEEN
SANTA ANA – A disgruntled roommate faces trial tomorrow for stabbing and murdering his roommate on Halloween. Vladimir Benitez, 28, Huntington Beach, is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use a deadly weapon, a knife. He faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison if convicted. Opening statements are scheduled to begin late tomorrow morning or early in the afternoon in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In October 2005, Benitez is accused of renting a room in a Huntington Beach home. Numerous people rented rooms in the home, including Camilo Martinez-Santiago, 32, who shared a room with Benitez. Benitez is accused of becoming angry when he learned that the landlord was planning to discontinue his tenancy the house because he was not liked by the other tenants. He left the home and did not return for several days.
Late in the evening of October 31, 2005, the last night of his tenancy in the house, Benitez is accused of returning to the house, taking a knife from the kitchen, and stabbing Martinez-Santiago as he slept. The victim woke up and began screaming for help and Benitez fled the scene. The other roommates in the house heard the victim screaming and ran out of their rooms to help.
The defendant turned himself in to police at the urging of his family several weeks after the murder. .
Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste is prosecuting this case.