Floyd gets 30 years in Brewton teen’s death

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Florida man convicted of the murder of a Brewton teenager will serve 30 years in prison, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Robert Floyd’s sentence was less than the maximum life sentence he could have received for shooting 18-year-old Gus Benjamin after an altercation at a party at Floyd’s home near Jay, Fla.

Prosecutors said Floyd, now 21, shot at the car in which Benjamin was riding as the vehicle left the party. Defense attorneys argued Floyd was acting in self-defense in the Feb. 27, 2010, incident.

Witnesses at the May trial said one of the teenagers Benjamin was with had a gun but fired as he was driving away — after Floyd had first fired shots.

In opening statements, defense attorney Bryan McLeod said Floyd acted in self defense.

“He had absolutely no intent to kill anybody or to harm anybody,” he said. “He was defending himself. He was meeting that threat of deadly force with the same level of force.“

State attorney Robert Elmore said Floyd acted in anger after Benjamin showed a pistol “in fear.”

“In his mind, (Floyd said,) ‘I’ve got a bigger gun. And I’m going to get it now,’” Elmore said in his opening statement.

The case raised racial tensions because Floyd is white and Benjamin was black.

According to a 911 tape played during the trial, Floyd called police when word came back to the party that someone in the car had been shot. Floyd told the 911 operator, “This is a white predominant town.”