Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Jose Benitez-Tilley: Indiana man turns 65 after killing 2 people and sexually assaulting dead female victim

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Jose Benitez-Tilley pleaded guilty to double murder in June in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of sexually assaulting one of the bodies

WARNING: This article contains information that some people may find triggering or upsetting. Discretion is recommended.

Jose Benitez-Tille, 20, who used to work at Papa John’s, has been charged with the murder of two of his employees and attempted sex with one of them after he shot them. Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno sentenced the Indiana man to 65 years in prison. The victims, Haley Smith, 22, and Dustin Carr, 37, were working at the fast food restaurant late at night when the incident happened in early February this year.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the double murder in June in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of sexually assaulting Haley’s body. At approximately 10:11 a.m. on February 13, 2022, a Papa John employee dialed 911 to report that he had found the bodies of his co-workers who had been working the closing shift the night before. The restaurant at 1500 Cassopolis Street in Elkhart was Jose Benitez-Tilley’s place of work before he was fired for “unspecified reasons.”

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He had entered the location around 10pm to ask for reinstatement and left after what other restaurant workers described as “a brief chat”. He returned a short time later and wanted to speak to Dustin Carr. The last verbal report from Jose in the restaurant is on February 12, 2022 at 11:15 p.m. CCTV footage from a nearby Family Dollar store confirmed Jose’s presence at the scene, and the timestamps matched the approximate times of the victims’ deaths. His car, a gold Dodge Caravan, was used to identify the perpetrator, who exited the building at 11:32 p.m.

During the Goshen Police Department’s investigation, he admitted to killing the two employees and revealed that he had attempted to have sexual intercourse with the female victim before attempting and failing to dispose of their bodies. Investigators added, “Jose shared that on his second visit to the restaurant, he used a handgun to shoot and kill both Haley Smith and Dustin Carr.” He “partially undressed” Hayley to have intercourse. Before leaving the scene, Jose stole Hayley’s purse, Dustin’s jewelry, and cash from the office. He also tried to get to the restaurant’s safe but couldn’t make it.

A detailed affidavit was released after Elkhart Homicide investigators conducted Jose’s interview. The families of the two read the victims’ impact statements on Friday, July 15, and were visibly shocked at the enormity of the crime being committed against their loved ones.


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Jennifer Conway, a friend of the Smith family, said: “You can’t have someone who sits at your dinner table, right here next to you, for three years and doesn’t love that person, doesn’t care about that person, you with all theirs Deals with her highs and all her lows, and don’t care about her, share her life. A life taken for no reason.

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