Police: Round Rock man lashed son, 9, with belt multiple times
A Round Rock man is accused of lashing his 9-yearold son multiple times with a leather belt, according to an arrest affidavit. Jerel Benjamin, 44, was charged Tuesday with injury to a child, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
The boy and his 13-year-old brother live in Round Rock with Benjamin, according to the affidavit.
Authorities were alerted after the boys went to visit their mother in Napa, California, for spring break, the document said. It said she called the Napa County sheriff ’s office March 12 to report that her 9-year-old son had been physically abused.
The boy told his mother that his father had spanked him for an hour March 10 for lying to his teacher, the affidavit said. His mother found multiple lashing-type injuries on his lower legs, the document said. The boy said his father spanked him on his legs, his back and his private parts with a braided leather belt, it said.
When his father spanked him, the boy said, the father told him the boy was “evil” and also said “you’re not going to survive in this house,” the affidavit said. It said the boy’s 13-year-old brother told an investigator his father spanks his little brother at least once a week and “is trying to get a message through” to the 9-year-old.
When an investigator in California called Benjamin, Benjamin said, “In his house they don’t have abuse, they have measured discipline,” the affidavit said.
It said Benjamin told the investigator he had spanked his 9-year-old son three or four times with a belt. He also said he gave up trying to spank the boy because the boy was “jumping around,” the affidavit said.
It said when the investigator asked Benjamin about the “excessive discipline,” Benjamin disagreed with the investigator.
Photos of the 9-year-old boy’s injuries showed mul- tiple lash-type injuries on his left leg with a woventype pattern, bruising on the boy’s right calf and large bruises on the inside of the boy’s thighs, including ones with scabs, the affidavit said.
Investigators also saw in the photos “old healing lashtype wounds” on the boy’s back and a “goose egg” on the boy’s head, according to the affidavit. The boy said his father hit him in the head with a plastic toy gun, according to the affidavit.
It said a Round Rock police detective tried to call Benjamin for an interview but Benjamin never returned the call. Benjamin was released from the Williamson County Jail on Wednesday after posting bail set at $20,000. confirmed whether the IHOP robberies in the two cities are related.
Meanwhile in San Marcos, authorities said they, too, were looking for a man in a hoodie with light-colored sleeves who was carrying a handgun after he tried to break into a Wingstop restaurant about a half-hour before the Kyle IHOP robbery.
A few minutes after the restaurant at 913 Texas 80 had closed, customers still eating inside told police they saw the man trying to open the restaurant door. He brandished a small, silver-colored handgun as he kept trying to break in, witnesses told police.
The man eventually ran off before San Marcos police officers arrived at the restaurant just after 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, officials said. Police searched the nearby area, but they did not find the man.
A few hours later in Austin, police were investigating a robbery at a Chevron gas station near Interstate 35 and Lady Bird Lake around 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Police said the robber there also wore a dark shirt and a blue bandana.
Anyone with information about the incidents can call Kyle police at 512-268-3232 or San Marcos police at 512753-2108.
Jerel Benjamin, 44, was charged with injury to a child.