NEW ORLEANS – A habitual New Orleans serial burglar was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but history shows he may not serve to completion.
On Wednesday, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office announced it secured a 12-year prison sentence for 53-year-old Julius Benjamin.
Benjamin pleaded guilty as charged to 11 counts of simple burglary, after breaking into nearly a dozen vehicles and businesses this past spring.
He was sentenced as a double felony offender, under Louisiana’s habitual offender statute.
But 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 filled with lengthy sentences that he never was made to complete.
In 1991, he was sentenced to eight years for burglarizing an inhabited dwelling, but only served six.
He was convicted of the same crime again in 1997, that time, he was sentenced to 12 years as a triple felony offender, but only served 10.
He was released in 2007, but before the year was over, he was convicted of attempted simple burglary, and received a nine-year sentence as a triple felony offender.
He almost went full-term, but was let out a few months early, and shortly after being released, he was convicted again of attempting to burglarize an inhabited dwelling.
For this, he was sentenced to three-years, but that was not fulfilled, as Benjamin was convicted again on battery and burglary counts in 2017.
He was ultimately given a five-year suspended sentence in that case, allowing him the freedom 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 burglaries from 2019 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