October 21, 2013
It’s been a year exactly since a man was shot to death during a party at a home in the Montrose area. To this day, the person who killed him remains free as police continue to investigate. Now the victim’s friends and family are demanding action in the case.
Friends say they saw Ben Becke murdered a year ago. Yet the guy who they say pulled the trigger was hasn’t been arrested or charged and they want to know why.
Outside the Harris County Criminal Justice Center on Monday was a call for justice. A quiet protest, speaking loudly of the unresolved grief friends and family still feel following the murder of Benjamin Becke.
Widow Jennifer Becke said, “Every time I try to call the DA, or a grand jury number or anything, I don’t get any answers.”
She remembers the party at a Dunlavy four-plex — a neighbor was upset over their loud music. Eyewitness Armando Lopez says Becke went outside to try and calm him down. Before he knew it, Lopez claims, that neighbor shot the father of three.
"That dude, basically at point break range just ‘boom’ — shot him right there," Lopez said.
The neighbor was questioned by police and released. Friends wonder if unspoken discrimination because of the way Becke looked might figure into this investigation.
"Mohawks, green hair — we’re minorities, you know," Lopez said. "That doesn’t mean we’re bad people. That doesn’t mean we’re violent people."
The protest got Becke’s widow a meeting with the district attorney’s office. She learned the person who had been working the case is no longer employed there. She says she’s been calling for months and no one told her that. The DA’s office apologized.
But charges have not been filed and no arrest has been made, they say, because the investigation is still underway.
Prosecutor John Brewer said, “For some cases, that is a matter of hours, for some it’s a matter of years, literally.”
There are a number of reasons a murder investigation can take so long. One possibility is the fact that the grand jury hears about 1,700 cases a month, which can create a backlog.