RIDGELAND, S.C. (December 9, 2021) – A 33-year-old Hardeeville resident has been convicted in connection with a 2019 hit-and-run incident that left an acquaintance dead beneath his vehicle.
A Jasper County General Sessions Court jury found Osman Benitez guilty Wednesday of hit and run with death in an incident in which Yobani Morales Roblero was killed. Benitez was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
Benitez will be deported to his native Honduras after serving his sentence.
“Mr. Benitez’s actions were extremely reckless,” said Mary Jordan Lempesis of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Unfortunately, we might never know precisely what transpired on the night Yobani Roblero was killed, but the jury’s verdict speaks the truth and provides a measure of justice for his unnecessary death.”
City of Hardeeville Police were called to the intersection of Young Street and Paynesville Road early on the morning of Oct. 26, 2019, after receiving a report of a vehicle striking a pedestrian. They arrived to find Roblero trapped beneath a Dodge Avenger registered to Benitez. No driver was at the scene.
However, a witness who was with both men indicated Benitez and Roblero had spent much of the evening together drinking and were also seen together on gas-station surveillance video a few hours before the incident. Surveillance footage from another business captured Roblero’s vehicle leaving Benitez’s residence on St. Phillips Road at about 4:15 a.m. Osman’s vehicle departed immediately after and sped by Roblero’s vehicle in a no-passing zone.
The witness said he got in an argument with Benitez and that he and Roblero left the defendant’s house shortly thereafter. The witness said he initially left on foot but then got in Roblero’s car after walking down the road a short distance. Benitez began chasing them, the witness said, and Roblero stopped his vehicle. Both men then exited the car.
The witness said he immediately ran away and didn’t see Roblero get hit, however, he returned a short time later to see Roblero dead beneath Benitez’s car.
Lempesis called eight witnesses during three days of testimony at the Jasper County Courthouse.
Circuit Court Judge Bentley Price handed down the sentence.