Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez, both 31 years old, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, were out for a drive on July 11. They happened across a homeless man sleeping on the side of the road. They thought they would have a little fun with him. They rolled down the window and threw firecrackers at him.
According to Benavidez, it was all in good fun.
“It was just a prank. It was just trying to scare him. That was it.”
Multiple witnesses had a different account of what happened. Their testimonies have led to the arrest of both Benavidez and Enriquez. The two are being charged with aggravated battery with bodily harm, tampering with evidence, child abuse, and conspiracy.
The arrest warrant says that the couple actually saw the homeless man’s pants smoldering, and they took off. Further substantiating their claims, multiple witnesses called in tips saying a purple SUV had been seen fleeing the burning man. When police questioned Benavidez, he stated he didn’t have a purple SUV. He in fact had a white SUV. Neighbors ratted him out according to a KOB 8 Report. He had painted his SUV white.
The evidence that really did Benavidez and Enriquez in came from a surprising source. The Albuquerque Police Department received a tip from the babysitter of the couple. The babysitter mentioned to the police that Benavidez’s child had mentioned the incident. The police then obtained a statement from the 8-year-old.
The 8-year-old mentioned in his statement that his 12-year-old brother and 2-year-old sister were with him when they threw the firecracker at the homeless man. Child abuse was added to the charge due to the statement taken from the son.
The couple turned themselves in once the warrants were issued. Enriquez said in her statement that she tried to pour water on the homeless man. She said that Benavidez would not let her, and they left.
According to a report from Fox 8, the homeless man is still in intensive care.
Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez do not quite know their fate. Benavidez has had other issues with the law. He is currently on probation for assault on a peace officer as well as tampering with evidence. A conviction would revoke his probation. He would then have to serve the remainder of that term along with what would be tacked on from the new charges.
What do you think should happen to Benavidez and Enriquez? Do you feel that Enriquez should deserve a break according to her testimony, or should she get as much of a sentence as Benavidez?
[Photo by New York Daily News]