A 29-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years to life in state prison for fatally stabbing an acquaintance whose body was found in a plastic storage box, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Deputy District Attorney Deann Rivard said a jury found Kenneth Mullen Watkins guilty on Aug. 8 of one count of second-degree murder with the special allegation that he used a knife.
On Jan. 12, 2016, 52-year-old Terry Nigale Benjamin’s sister reported him missing. Days before, tenants at the apartment complex where the victim lived complained about a foul smell, according to court testimony.
On Jan. 23, 2016, the apartment’s building owner entered the victim’s apartment and discovered Benjamin’s body stuffed into a 45-gallon plastic storage container, the prosecutor said.
According to evidence presented at trial, Watkins stabbed the victim multiple times on Jan. 4, 2016. The defendant then cleaned up the crime scene, bagged the evidence and piled the bags of evidence on top of the victim’s body after stuffing him into the container, the prosecutor added.
Case BA444632 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Los Angeles District Attorney / Case BA444632 / September 13, 2017