Local News

New Lawsuit Filed in 2002 Bennett Slaying

Posted May 7, 2007

— The father of a woman murdered in her apartment at a north Raleigh complex in 2002 has filed a new lawsuit against the apartments' owner.

Stephanie Bennett, 23, was raped and killed at the Bridgeport Apartments in May 2002. Drew Planten, the man charged with the crime after a three-year investigation, committed suicide in prison a year ago while awaiting trial.

Her father filed a suit last year alleging that the managers could and should have done things to prevent conditions that let the killing happen, then withdrew the suit during a trial in January.

Cameron Bennet had sued, and the case was being tried when he asked Jan. 22 that the  lawsuit against Equity Residential be dismissed.

Bennett and his attorney, Charles Bentley, gave no reason for the action, which came after three days of testimony, but Bentley said then that they likely would resubmit the case.

Bennett had argued in filing the original suit that Planten's death robbed the Bennett family of a chance to achieve a sense of justice through the criminal courts. Her father said he hoped to obtain that justice through a civil suit against the apartment complex where she lived and was killed.

"I think she'd be proud of the fact that I'm trying to get something good out of something very bad, Carmon Bennett said last  year.

Bennett maintained in the original lawsuit that Bridgeport Apartments failed to protect his daughter from her killer because his daughter's window failed to lock, shrubbery around the building was too high and there was inadequate lighting.

A prowler later identified as Planten had been seen near the apartment prior to her murder, and Bennett's attorneys said the apartment complex was aware of that fact.


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  • gettmank May 9, 2007

    cont.. told us that she told the apt. managers. Fact: they requested an apt. on the 2nd or 3rd floor and the day the showed up to move in were told they had to get one on the first floor..so they did try to not be on the bottom floor! Ya know, to all those people who have expressed support and compassion, I thank you personally..but to those who have come on here and spouted off statements without knowing the facts, shame on you!!!! You don't know steph, you don't know carmen, you have no idea what you would do if you found yourself in the situation that steph was in, or that her father was in..until you are living it..you have no right to judge! miss you lil b...

  • gettmank May 9, 2007

    I am one of Stephanie Bennett's best friends. I went to college with her, know her entire family, was at her funeral, memorial service..I was with her almost every single day in college..and by the way she's from Virginia, her father lives in Virgina..not Maryland. Her father is one of the kindest, nicest and most humble people I have ever met..and so was stephanie. He is most certainly not out to get money!!!!! He is doing this so that apartment owners start doing everything they can possibly do to maintain a safe environment for their tenants. Weather she would've been murdered anyway does not matter..what matters is if you are going to operate a business where you are advertising a safe place to live...then when someone complains of a peeping tom and broken windows...you'd better fix it. And let me clear up a few things. First, Steph did notify the complex many many times and that is a fact! Fact #2, Steph e-mailed me and all her other close friends about the peeping tom and told us

  • Seeminglyopposed May 8, 2007

    Correction- writing about.

  • Seeminglyopposed May 8, 2007

    It is heart wrenching to read some of the comments that you all people make. However, I do just to remind myself that not only the people you are righting in favor of (not the victims)! That some of you are just as capable for this crime, then the one who committed this one. But keep on speaking and when your name no longer appears and we read the paper or hear the news, the others will take pleasure in commenting to your execution.

  • sick of You May 8, 2007

    It makes no difference to a modivated killer what the height of the bushes are, if the windows are locked and the lighting of an area. If he wants the person he is stalking, he will find a way around these things. It is terrible that that scumbag Drew Planten murdered such a good person but suing the apartment complex is not going to bring her back or change anything.

  • superman May 8, 2007

    Thank God I have enough sense to drive a nail in a window to secure my safety. I always look to myself to solve my problems when I can. Dont know what part the window played, or the lights out, or the bushes. May have been too many cars parked in the parking lot too which provided him an opportunity move around the complex. If I were on the jury I would make him pay for the first case he started and dropped and make him pay for the second case. Wonder if he will drop this one? Who knows. Even if he by some stretch of the imagination win-- the lawyer is going to get most of it anyway. He still be a loser

  • peel-a-way May 8, 2007

    You people must be realtors and/or property managers. Property managers do have a responsibility to tenants. If you would get rid of the selfish stance you could see the real merits and moral elements of this case.

  • FlSunshine May 7, 2007

    There are several threads in this conversation I would like to comment on.....YES, losing a child is like no other grief imaginable....I would not wish it on my worst enemy and you never recover from it......but life does go on.....The father in question is stuck in his progression through the stages of grief.....He is using the litigation as a focus to keep from having to deal with his grief and pain.....and I can say that as a professional and because we lost our 6 year old son June 30, 1992 because some idiot decided he had too much time on his hands and invented something called bungey jumping which, of course, seemed exciting to a 6 year old.

  • ifcdirector May 7, 2007

    I think her Dad is a complete and total moron. What father would allow his daughter to live in a place with inadequate lighting, high shrubbery, and a non-locking window? Didn't this idiot have sense enough to go to Home Depot where he could have solved all three problems in an afternoon with a bit of work and a swipe of his credit card? But now somehow it's the apartment's responsibility now for his lack of insight into the inadequacies of his daughter's security and living conditions? I love how people are always ready to level the blame in our litigious society at someone else for their own failings. Parents make sure your daughters and sons are living in secure surroundings and if they are not then get involved enough or care enough about them to make sure that it gets done right now. Apartment complexes, companies, and whoever else won't bring back your son or daughter again and neither will a lawsuit take the place of responsible intervention, supervision, and teaching your kids

  • jcrew1979 May 7, 2007

    Amen InTheWind and mt1190 -at- yahoo -dot- com