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For assault on guest in home, man goes to prison for at least 11 years

By Gene Hartley, ghartley@schurz.com
Published On: Oct 04 2013 04:25:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 04 2013 04:26:29 PM CDT
Beningo Chavez

from Greene County jail

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (edited news release from Greene County prosecuting attorney) -

A man from Springfield admitted Friday that he sexually assaulted a woman who was a guest in his family’s home.  Beningo Chavez, 38, pleaded guilty to forcible sodomy, attempted forcible rape, and two counts of armed criminal action.

Chavez attacked the woman last Oct. 27 in Springfield, Missouri.  Before going to her room, he turned the power to the house off.  He went into the room where she was sleeping, waking her up as he began to assault her.  In the course of the assault, Chavez threatened the victim with a meat cleaver.  The victim feared for her life.  

Chavez’s  wife woke up.  Finding that her husband was not in their bed, she went to the bedroom where the victim was sleeping, and discovered her husband in the middle of the assault.  Chavez’s wife tried to turn on lights, but all of the power breakers to the home had been turned off.  Chavez left the home after taking the victim’s cell phone.

Chavez’s wife could not find her own cell phone, and so, once the two women were sure that Chavez had left in his vehicle, they drove first to his wife’s parents’ home, and then, with her parents, to the Springfield Police Department South District Station, which was closed due to the time.  

They then traveled to the victim’s home.  Upon arrival, they discovered that Chavez had arrived earlier and hid his vehicle behind the victim’s home.  The women did not enter the home at that time, using Chavez's wife's parents’ cell phone to call 9-1-1.  Law enforcement directed the women to go to the downtown office of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, while other officers responded to the victim’s home.  

An officer spotted Chavez driving away from the home, and he was arrested during a traffic stop shortly afterwards.  At the time of his arrest, officers recovered two cell phones, later determined to be the cell phones of the victim and Chavez’s wife.  When law enforcement searched the defendant’s home, they found a meat cleaver underneath the pillow on the bed where Chavez’s wife found him assaulting the victim.

Under the plea agreement, Chavez received a 10-year prison sentence for attempted forcible rape and forcible sodomy and a three-year sentence for armed criminal action. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of the 10-year sentence, as well as three more years for armed criminal action, before he will be eligible for parole.  Chavez will have to register as a sex offender and will be subject to lifetime supervision due to the nature of the charges.

While sexual assaults happen with an alarming frequency, use of weapons in such assaults is actually a rarity. According to the Department of Justice, in 2010, only 12 percent of rapes and sexual assaults involved a weapon.