NORMAN — A man who told police he shot and killed a woman in her Norman home last fall after he'd gone there to confront her son will stand trial, a judge decided late Thursday afternoon.
Dustin Dale Allen, 20, was charged with murder in September in Cleveland County District Court.
The victim, Mary Ellyn Benavidez, was shot in the chest in the early morning hours of Sept. 13. She died a short time later at Norman Regional Hospital, records show.
Kevin Finlay, the defendant's attorney, said Allen also was ordered to trial on a burglary charge.
“They said he broke into her house with the intent to burglarize it,” Finlay said.
Court records show Allen told police he was upset with Benavidez's son, Jason, and went to the victim's residence to confront him.
Why Allen was upset with the victim's son isn't explained in court records.
Neighbors described the home at 1210 Stubbeman Ave. as “high-traffic,” and many suspected drug activity was the likely explanation.
Allen said he encountered Benavidez after kicking the door in and searching the house for her son.
He said he thought she was “scared” when he shot her and told police she was muttering in Spanish and backing away from him right before he took her life.
Allen, who has been arrested numerous times over the past three years, is being held at the Cleveland County jail. His bond is set at $3 million.
Neighbors said the house was being watched in the weeks leading up to Benavidez's death, but police have not confirmed whether the house was under surveillance.
Benavidez was the only homicide victim in Norman in 2012.
The killing happened in Norman's Old Silk Stocking neighborhood, known for heavy foot traffic and an eclectic mix of houses.
Another woman was shot a month later, just blocks away, but she survived. The second shooting prompted many local residents to question the safety of the old neighborhood.
Finlay said it's not clear when Allen will be in court next because his client's preliminary hearing ended after 5 p.m. Thursday.
Since 2010, Allen has been arrested in numerous, mostly nonviolent, felony cases.
Before Allen's arrest in Benavidez's killing, the only arrest in a violent crime Allen had logged was in November 2010. He was arrested in connection with his then-girlfriend being punched in the face with a closed fist.
At the time, his girlfriend was 16. No charges were filed.
Allen married his girlfriend, who had to get her mother's permission to do so, in July 2011.
His wife filed for divorce in April.
In the divorce petition, the young woman states that she is seeking divorce due to mental and physical abuse at the hands of Allen.