WaPo Writer Appears To Question Murder Conviction Over Racial Slur

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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A reporter for The Washington Post seemed to suggest on Wednesday that a murder conviction was unjust because the victim used the “n-word” before she was attacked.

Robert Coleman was convicted of second-degree murder in Virginia for punching Fedelia Montiel-Benitez so hard that she ended up in a coma and died ten days later. Coleman admits to chasing after the woman and punching her, but says he only did so because she called him the “n-word.”

In a tweet about the case, The Washington Post seemed to downplay the severity of Coleman’s actions, writing, “He said he punched a woman for calling him the n-word. A jury called it murder.”

In the article, which was published Tuesday afternoon, Rachel Weiner leads off by noting that the violent exchange “lasted only 45 seconds.”

“Robert Coleman threw one punch,” Weiner writes. “Fedelia Montiel-Benitez died in a hospital 10 days later, and Coleman will now most likely go to prison for 10 years for second-degree murder.”

Coleman said he “snapped” after hearing the woman call him the “n-word” but had no intentions of killing her. Prosecutors successfully argued that the woman did not know enough English to use the word, and even if she did, Coleman was not justified in hitting her.

“In an all-too-often repeated theme, a tragedy unfolded because of a defendant’s inability to tolerate a perceived slight,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said. “Verbal arguments should never devolve into physical altercations because physical altercations often bring devastating consequences.”

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