Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Mesquite Reporter
Wilson Benitez, found guilty of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in the shooting of a Mesquite mother last December, was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday.
A jury on Thursday decided a North Texas man will spend 40 years in prison for shooting a Mesquite woman last December.
After two days of deliberations, jurors on Thursday found Wilson Benitez, 46, guilty of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
Benitez posed as a flower delivery man and shot Edna Clement in front of her then 8-year-old daughter in December.
Prosecutors called Benitez a monster, saying he robbed a young girl of her innocence when he shot her mother while she stood nearby.
"Just in terms of how scared she was and the fact that she thought her mom was going to die really struck a cord with the jurors," Assistant District Attorney Jason Fine said.
Clement was shot the in the chest, barely missing her heart.
Prosecutors said he stole their phones, leaving Clement and her daughter with no way to call for help. Police later found Clement's phone ditched by the side of the road.
Benitez's DNA and fingerprints were picked up on items left at Clement's house.
"Forty is a good number," Fine said. "The defendant had no criminal history and, you know, maybe you get a couple of years more, but anytime you get 40 years on a probation-eligible defendant, that's a good day. Given his age, even if he reached parole by the time he got out, he wouldn't be a threat to anybody."
Prosecutors said Benitez was after $50,000 Clement kept in a safe inside her home. They said Benitez allegedly knew about the money from his girlfriend's sister, who was having an affair with Clement's husband.
Edna Clement and her family declined to comment on the case, saying that they had seen too much and are overwhelmed.
Prosecutors said Mesquite police are still investigating whether or not someone helped Benitez with the crime.