A grand jury on Thursday indicted Benjamin Allen on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of 17-year-old Elijah Rizvan on a Palm Coast street during a planned drug deal on July 12. Allen, 16, turns 17 in three weeks.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza opted to try Allen as an adult. If convicted, he may face life in prison, but he is not eligible for the death penalty.
Allen, a resident of 70 S. Riverbend Drive, #723, in Palm Coast, is accused of shooting Rizvan once with a handgun in front of 7 Westford Lane, where Rizvan had been visiting his girlfriend. Rizvan was in the street at the time of the shooting.
Rizvan’s girlfriend, who was also present at the time of the shooting and called 911, revealed to authorities that a friend of Rizvan’s, a student at Flagler Palm Coast High School, told her he had put a certain individual in touch with Rizvan “shortly before the murder,” according to Allen’s arrest report. the friend sent her a Snapchat picture of the screen name of the individual.
The friend, according to Allen’s arrest report, told detectives that he’d been contacted on July 12 by someone interested in buying marijuana. The friend “reached out to his friend Rizvan and asked if he could supply the drugs to the Snapchat contact,” the arrest report states. “A price was agreed upon between the parties and [the friend] gave the address of 7 Westford Lane to the Snapchat contact. He let Rizvan know that the Snapchat contact was on his way to purchase the narcotics.”
The sheriff would later allege that the deal was to have been over an amount of marijuana worth $125. (See the timeline leading up to the murder here.)
Using various investigative techniques, detectives matched the screen name to an address at 126 Island Estates Parkway, where they located a vehicle matching one seen on surveillance video within moments near the scene of the shooting. Three witnesses were subsequently interviewed. All three were with Allen at the time of the shooting. One of the witnesses stepped out of the car with Allen and saw Allen approach Rizvan, according to the arrest report, grab Rizvan, demand narcotics, then shoot him, immediately returning to the car and fleeing with the witness who’d stepped out. One of the witnesses was driving the car, and dropped off Allen at his Riverview Bend house. The others returned to Island Estates Parkway.
Soon apprehended, Allen acknowledged traveling to the W Section with the three witnesses, but denied being involved in the shooting.
Allen is represented by Rosemary Peoples, an assistant public defender who specializes in murder cases. The day after his arrest, he signed a document invoking his right to remain silent and his refusal to speak to any jail psychologist or any jail minister, appear in any line-up, or submit to any polygraph test without Peoples present.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Dunton.
The indictment was handed down shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday. Allen had his first appearance before a judge, who ordered him held without bond. Allen was then processed at the Flagler County jail and sent to a jail in Jacksonville, because the Flagler jail isn’t equipped to hold juveniles. It isn’t yet clear where Allen will be held in the longer term as he awaits trial. He is to be arraigned before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins on Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 401 at the Flagler County courthouse.
Allen is the second Flagler County juvenile in two months to be indicted and tried as an adult on a first-degree murder charge. On May 3, Marion Gavins Jr. was indicted on a similar charge in the shooting death of Curtis Gray, 18, in Palm Coast on April 13. Gavins had a long record in the juvenile justice system. For Allen, his arrest was his very first contact with law enforcement in his young life.
Peaches McGee says
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
PS…your accomplices will face the same charges.
A terrible event to happen. RIP to the victim.
Why the 2 accomplice’s in the car with Allen that provided the snapchat contact and the vehicle to commit this crime and that drove Allen back to his Tidelands gated community after he murdered the 17 year old and then drove themselves to the 1.9 million valued mansion in Island States were sheriff traced them…how come these two are not being properly investigated also? They were instrument to a crime as well. These rich two are dealing in drugs from inside Island Estates and let go free?
There were 3 accomplices not only two actually and why are they not investigated as well? They didn’t call the sheriff to denounce Allen’s crime furthermore they drove him back home instead of calling law enforcement…
mike shwim says
Mr. Clean says
Nice Job Grand Jury……. Finally, common sense prevails !
What happened to, if you ride with the shooter, you are sentenced with the shooter? All FOUR involved should be locked up. ENOUGH of this “No Consequences” garbage. We have these little lawless deviants committing crimes with guns, and you want ME, a Law Abiding citizen, to succumb to YOUR idea of gun control? Meanwhile these little law breakers could care less about the laws YOU want to pass. Sorry, I stick to the Law as the US Constitution establishes it. Until you can control PEOPLE, you got no right to infringe on My rights.
Someone murdered while in the act of committing a felony. The charge is 1st degree murder; a deliberate and planned act.
So why use terminology of “witnesses” and not “accomplices” for the other two involved with aiding and abetting?
Born and Raised Here says
I would like to see the Parents or legal guardians held responsible since the suspect was under 18. To many parents are not taking on the responsibility to be accountable for their kids in this country. It’s time for Parents to be parents and raise there children.
Concerned Citizen says
Everyone is bringing up valid concerns.
Whoever was present during this crime and assisted this individual should be charged as well. Why is the Sheriff’s Office not pursuing further? Another case of half ass justice in Flagler County.
Wrong.. If you knew Benjamin he was definitely not a “wannabe gang banger.
Whenever I read about crimes like these, and the culprit(s) are apprehended (and yes, they are almost always apprehended) I always find myself taking a good long look at their mugshots. What I always see is that same “deer in the headlights” look. I mean..what outcome other than the one he’s facing now did this fellow expect when he made the choices he made? I’m getting a little old, not that wise, and I don’t have any kids in the school system. If I had any say, I would direct the high schools to devote the first hour to “current events.” Have their teacher bring the newspaper to class. Talk about these crimes. Show the kids the mugshots. Have a class discussion about consequences of bad behavior. Might just save a life..or two. Aww, that might actually make too much sense.
@Tiara–How do you explain the company he was keeping and the activities/circumstances he was involved in, then? Perhaps, if someone had paid more attention to that BEFORE this incident took place, a couple of young lives would not have gone down the drain.
Enabling, minimization and excuse-making is not the answer. It’s part of the problem.
Tiara at this point not much credibility to your statement. Right. And Ted Bundy was a nice guy smh