David Martin Benjamin has been charged with the murder of Atlanta anesthesiologist, Jessica Colker
The alleged killer of American tourist Jessica Colker was remanded in custody today after being charged with her murder.
David Benjamin made a brief appearance at Grenville Magistrate’s Court where he was charged with non-capital murder.
The 26-year-old did not speak during the hearing before Magistrate Nevlyn John.
He was remanded in custody to St George’s prison.
Benjamin’s father was in court but refused to comment as he left.
He is suspected of killing Colker who died from extensive skull fracture and asphyxia, as she walked along a deserted beach with her husband on the first day of her holiday.
Benjamin attempted to hide his face as he was led in handcuffs to a waiting car from Grenville Police Station.
The alleged murderer, who wore a green and white checked shirt and jeans, held up his charging sheet to his face.
Detectives led him to a white unmarked pick up truck where he was helped into the back seat.
The alleged killer stared out of the blacked-out windows of the vehicle as it sped away.
He was driven to St George’s prison in Grenada’s capital where he has been remanded until his next court appearance.
He is likely to held on remand for up to a year before he comes to trial. During the brief court appearance Benjamin did not enter a plea.
Colker, an anesthesiologist from Atlanta Georgia, is said to have been raped before being murdered but that was not on the charge sheet.
Grenada has the death penalty but non-capital murder means that Benjamin will not face the ultimate sanction if found guilty.
Her distraught husband Brian Meloti spent Tuesday with officials at the US consulate in Grenada’s capital of St George.
He is preparing to fly back to their home in Atlanta with his wife’s body after it was released for burial by a medical examiner on the island.
The death of Colker has sent shockwaves through the small Caribbean island which depends heavily on tourists, particularly from the US.
Murdered: It has been confirmed that Jessica Colker, (pictured here with her husband Brian Melito) was killed while she walked along a beach in Grenada on Sunday
No questions: Murder suspect David Benjamin’s father Joseph Benjamin was furious today when he was questioned about his rapist son being accused of the brutal killing
Crime scene: The remains of the police investigation at the site where Jessica Colker was murdered. Officers tried to help save her life but were unable to
Peaceful: The Le-Cheasere beach where Jessica Colker was murdered after going for a walk with her husband on the first full day of her vacation. The bay is a popular place because it is quiet
Forensic search: Police had investigated the area where Jessica Colker was attacked
His father had expressed fury yesterday when approached by a Daily Mail Online reporter when approached at the bar shack he runs, and where his son was living before the attack.
Benjamin Snr at first refused to acknowledge his son was in police custody.
He then shouted out aggressively: ‘I have got nothing to say to you – talk to the police.
‘I don’t want to say anything. The police are the only ones who can help you now. I can’t say anything.’
Neighbors said his son David had been living with his father since being released from prison in December having been jailed for raping a14-year-old girl.
Sentenced to 15 years he is thought to have been released early after serving five years.
The Benjamin family home is a ten-minute walk from the Le-Cheasere beach in the parish of St David where the attack took place on Sunday afternoon.
Colker and her 62-year-old husband, a doctor, were on their first full day of their vacation when they were attacked.
The couple had walked along a trail from the La Sagesse hotel to a deserted crescent shaped beach that can only be reached by following a path through a dense mangrove.
It would have taken the couple at least 15 minutes to reach the secluded spot where waves from the Caribbean crash onto the beach.
When Daily Mail Online visited the murder scene the area was deserted.
Less than ten yards in from the beach yellow police tape could still be found wrapped around a palm tree where it had been used to seal off the murder scene in the dense undergrowth.
Police said Dr Meloti was not injured and ran the half-mile back to the hotel to raise the alarm.
Home: This is the bar shack where David Benjamin was living with his father until the murder of Jessica Colker. He had only just been freed from prison
Village: David Benjamin was living in Coals Gap, which is ten minutes from the scene of the crime
Held: St Davids police station, where David Benjamin was initially questioned over the murder of Jessica Colker
Police spokesman Sylvan McIntyre said officers from the local police station attended the scene but nothing could be done to save Ms Colker.
McIntyre, who attended the murder scene, said Colker was fully clothed when found.
At the La Sageese hotel one of the managers who would only give his name as Mike told how he drove a distraught Brian Meloti to the US embassy.
He said: ‘He was in complete shock and not saying anything. What could he say?’
Mike said Dr Meloti and his wife had only planned to stay at their hotel for two days before moving on to another hotel.
He said the deserted beach where the attack took place was part of a trail around the Le Cheasere beach.
‘It is a popular trail. It is isolated and quiet and that is why so many people like it,’ he said.
A day after the murder David Benjamin walked into the St David’s police station to hand himself in.
Traveler: These pictures of the Atlanta anesthesiologist date from 2014 when she took a vacation to Italy with her new husband
Marriage: This picture of Jessica Colker and Brian Melito was posted to their wedding registry website ahead of the ceremony on November 1, 2014
Tragic: Jessica Colker was killed on a deserted stretch of sun-splashed beach about twelve miles outside the capital of the Caribbean island of Grenada. Above are her shoes that she kicked off before going off on a walk
Helped: Hotel worker Mike drover Brian Meloti to the US embassy and said he was ‘in shock’
A police source told Daily Mail Online: ‘Benjamin was set free in December. He had been locked away for the rape of a young child.’
Benjamin, who has three teardrops under his left eye that in gang culture means he has killed or is prepared to kill, has not yet been charged.
He was held at St George’s Police station in the island’s capital and was questioned by detectives.
Grenada Police spokesman Sylvan McIntyre said of Benjamin: ‘What I can tell you now is that he is in custody. He was not captured, but he turned himself in and our investigations will continue, as we believe he can assist us with our investigation into the incident.’
Until recently the set jail term for rape in Grenada was 15 years.
A recent amendment to the criminal code means that any person who is convicted of rape is sentenced to prison for a maximum of 35 years.
Grenada’s criminal courts have been dominated by sexual offenses, accounting for more than one-third of all the cases before the High Court for trial.
Colker was a registered pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
She and her husband are both seasoned travelers and first met at a dance workshop in Costa Rica according to their wedding website profile.
They say they had a smoothie together on the second day of the class and then spent the rest of the week ‘dancing, talking, surfing, eating great food, swimming in the ocean under the stars and generally falling in love.’
They became engaged in August of 2014 and wed in November of 2014 in Atlanta.
In their statement issued on Monday afternoon, the US Embassy said they were ‘working closely with officials investigating Ms. Colker’s death’.
Brief stay: Brian Melito and Jessica Colker had only planned to stay at La Sagesse hotel for two nights when she was brutally attacked
Death in paradise: Grenada is one of the more southern Caribbean islands and the La Sagesse Hotel is marked on the map in relation to the capital, St George’s
Murdered: Canadian tourist Linnea Veinotte was killed in December in Grenada and her alleged murderer is currently in custody
Police in St George’s confirmed that ‘at about 12.00 noon on Sunday January 24, 2016, it was reported to the police that a woman, who was in the company of her male companion went missing following an attack by a man at Le-Cheasere beach in St David.
‘A search was mounted in the area and a person later identified as the missing woman was found dead.
‘A suspect is currently in custody assisting police with their investigation.’
Colker is the second tourist to have been murdered on the island in just over a month.
In December, Canadian Linnea Veinotte was murdered and suspect, Akim Frank, is charged with her murder. At the time police said the killing was an isolated incident and the island was safe for tourists.
According to the hotel’s website the resort is ‘Grenada’s Best Romantic Getaway’.
Its Facebook page says: ‘Blending the elegance and charm of an English country house with the tropical climate, beautiful palm tree shaded beach and lush vegetation, this wildly romantic hideaway offers a wonderful opportunity for recreation, relaxation, nature appreciation and the ambiance in which to enjoy it.’
A staff member at the hotel said then had been told not to talk about the incident.
Grenada, a former British colony, is a popular sunshine destination. The State Department warns tourists about the risk of opportunistic crime. British visitors are warned by the Foreign Office of that while most visits are ‘trouble-free’ there have been incidents of sexual assault and other violent crime.