- The Magazine
Houston police have charged a man with capital murder, alleging he used the gay dating app Grindr to arrange a meeting with a man who he robbed and strangled to death.
Prosecutors allege that Benjamin Davis, 29, who previously served two years in prison for choking a family member in 2018, opened an account on Grindr to find victims to rob.
“He learned from other individuals, people we don’t know, that it’s pretty easy to get into people’s homes on this app and rob them,” Assistant Harris County District Attorney Chandler Raine told Houston-area NBC affiliate KPRC.
According to police, Davis told investigators he arranged to meet Victor Najera Betanzos at the man’s apartment, on Houston’s West Side, under the guise of a sexual liaison. But when he arrived, Davis knocked Betanzos unconscious and used a scarf to strangle him.
Police claim he then grabbed the victim’s iPhone and iPad, and poured bleach on Betanzos’ body in an attempt to destroy physical evidence.
Davis was arrested last Saturday by police and charged with capital murder. He’s currently being held in prison on a $500,000 bond, according to court records.
“Really look at people before you allow them to come into your home,” Raine added.
The case continues a trend seen in several cities throughout the United States in recent years, in which criminals use gay dating apps to target potential victims for robbery or murder.
In 2020, a Louisiana man arranged a date with an 18-year-old whom he choked out, placed in a bathtub, stabbed, and attempted to dismember.
That same year, a man in Waco, Texas, allegedly used the app to arrange meetings with three gay men, killing one and injuring the two others. A New York City man has also been accused of murdering a Grindr date with a machete in his Bronx apartment.
Pointing to a host of other incidents, prosecutors in Houston are urging people to exercise caution before meeting up with people they meet on social media apps.
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