Sheriff: Homeless man chokes, stabs mother to death

Murder alarms families living next to crime scene

A homeless man was arrested by Citrus County sheriff's deputies for choking and stabbing his own mother to death, and then burying her body in a shallow grave.

Benjamin Dick, 23, was charged with second degree murder for the brutal attack, which investigators believe happened at a homeless camp behind a strip mall near Crystal River.  

An alleged accomplice, 28-year old Shannon Parker, was also arrested and charged with accessory to murder.

Deputies said Dick was fighting with his girlfriend, and at one point began choking her.  When his mother, 42-year old Jennifer Brooks, made disparaging remarks about the girlfriend, Dick turned on her and began strangling and stabbing her until she died, according to investigators.  Brooks was later found in a grave near the homeless camp.  

"I've got a four month old baby and that's in my backyard, so it's pretty crazy," said Skyler Beville, who is concerned for his child's safety and that of his girlfriend.

Beville said he had heard arguing in the woods shortly before deputies responded to the scene, but never realized that somebody had been killed.

"There was a lady with a raspy voice.  She was like, 'Stop!  Get off of me!'" Beville said.

Joan Winn, a resident who has complained about the homeless leaving garbage near her apartment complex, said the killing has made her more cautious about home security.

"I'm going to go out and get me a brand new lock and have my maintenance man put it in for me," Winn said.

Even though Dick has been taken into custody, residents are still concerned about the homeless camp and whether the residents will return.

"I want them gone," said Danielle Ouimet as she held her four-month old.  "I don't think anybody should be living in the woods back there with us right here," she said.

"If they kill their mom they'll kill anybody else," Ouimet said.

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