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Man used gay dating app to target person he eventually killed, deputies say

HOUSTON – Harris County deputies have charged a former convict with capital murder in the death of a man they said he targeted for robbery using a gay dating app.

Benjamin Davis, 29, has a history of violence. He served two years in prison for choking a family member in 2018.

Deputies said he opened an account on an app called Grindr to find people 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,” said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Chandler Raine.

According to deputies, Davis told investigators that he arranged to meet a man, identified as Victor Najera Betanzos, at the man’s west side apartment, ostensibly to have sex, but the real motive was robbery.

According to deputies, Davis told them he turned on Betanzos once he was in his apartment, knocking him unconscious. Police said Davis told detectives that he used a scarf to strangle him. Deputies said Davis told detectives that he poured bleach on the Betanzos’ body in an effort to destroy evidence, and drove off in the dead man’s truck after taking his iPhone and iPad.

Deputies said they spotted Davis in the truck and arrested him Saturday.

Prosecutors said social media apps are making it easier for criminals to target victims and urged caution.

“Really look at people before you allow them to come into your home,” Raine said.

Davis is charged with capital murder. He’s being held on a $500,000 bond.

Correction:This story has been corrected to reflect that the investigation was handled by the Harris County Sheriff's Office.