ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A man who took his kids along for the ride as he reportedly shot fireworks at a homeless man is getting off scot-free.
Albuquerque Police said Joshua Benavidez threw fireworks from his SUV at a homeless man sleeping on a sidewalk near Central in 2015, badly burning his legs.
Investigators said Benavidez had his wife and three kids along for the ride.
He denied everything.
“If you had something to do with it, you need to tell me now because if I come back and I find out later that you were a part of it then there’s going to be problems,” the officer is heard saying in lapel video.
“Sir, I’m positive that I have nothing to do with it,” Benavidez replied.
Police lapel video revealed his then 10-year-old son telling a much different story.
“We didn’t mean for that to happen, he meant to just like kinda scare the guy,” the son said.
Benavidez was charged with aggravated battery for the attack, and child abuse and contributing to delinquency of a minor charges for doing this with his kids in tow.
However, former Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg threw out the case in 2016, citing trouble with witness interviews.
When new DA Raul Torrez took over last year, he said he would look at refiling some of her dismissed cases.
Thursday, KRQE News 13 was told the case is a dead-end for three main reasons, all involving witnesses: they can’t find the victim; the officer who played a primary role in the investigation, Daniel Webster, was murdered just months later on the job; and according to the DA’s office, the boy’s mother would not let him testify against his dad.
The DA’s office said the lapel video of the son would be inadmissible without the boy also testifying in court because it would have “violated the defendant’s right to confrontation.” They add it’s nearly impossible to prosecute crimes like this one without a victim.