Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Wednesday (Aug. 7) announced it secured a guilty plea and 12-year prison sentence for an habitual New Orleans serial burglar who broke into nearly a dozen vehicles and businesses during his latest crime spree this past spring.
Julius Benjamin, 53, pleaded guilty as charged Tuesday to 11 counts of simple burglary outlined in two separate cases before Criminal District Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson.
Benjamin was sentenced as a double felony offender under Louisiana’s habitual offender statute. In actuality, this marked his sixth Orleans Parish conviction since 1991 in cases involving felony counts of burglary, burglary of inhabited dwellings or attempted burglary. Benjamin’s criminal history is replete with lengthy sentences he never was made to serve to completion.
In 1991, he was sentenced to 8 years for burglarizing an inhabited dwelling, but already was out and convicted of the same crime again by 1997. That time, he was sentenced to 12 years as a triple felony offender.
By 2007, he already was out and convicted again of attempted simple burglary, and received a nine-year sentence as a triple felony offender. But by 2016, he was convicted again of attempting to burglarize an inhabited dwelling.
A three-year sentence in that case was not fulfilled, as Benjamin was convicted again on battery and burglary counts in 2017. Landrum-Johnson gave Benjamin a five-year suspended sentence in that case. That left Benjamin free for a series of crimes committed this year.
Between Feb. 4 and March 1, New Orleans police said Benjamin burglarized 11 more businesses and vehicles, mostly in the Gentilly and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods. The majority of vehicles were discovered with smashed windows and personal belongings stolen, including laptop computers, cameras, cellphones, cash and other items. One victim — a single working mother — gave an impact statement to the court regarding the extreme personal stress and difficulty she endured having to scrounge about $1,000 to repair Benjamin’s damage to her vehicle.
The 11 2019 burglaries to which Benjamin pleaded guilty include:
- Feb. 4, 2300 block of Burgundy Street;
- Feb. 6, near the intersection of Foy Street and Norman Mayer Avenue;
- Feb. 7, 4400 block of Lafaye Street;
- Feb. 9, 3000 block of Elysian Fields Avenue;
- Feb. 18, 2000 block of Caton Street;
- Feb. 19, near the intersection of Foy Street and Touro Street
- Feb. 20, 2900 block of Elysian Fields Avenue;
- Feb. 27, 2200 block of Pelopidas Street and near the intersection of Benefit and Marigny streets;
- March 1, 2500 block of Columbus Street and 3600 block of Pauger Street.
Assistant District Attorneys Margaret Guidry and Hannah Sharp prosecuted the case.
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