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Crime News Murders

"Tinder Killer" Who Carved Swastika in Woman’s Back, Murdered Her Lover, Sentenced to 71 Years

Damon Allen Benson was handed a 71-year sentence for the “horrific love triangle murder” of 48-year-old Cameron Gabriel.

By Dorian Geiger
A police handout of Damon Benson

A California man who tortured a woman he’d met on Tinder and later murdered her lover has been sentenced to more than seven decades behind bars. 

Damon Allen Benson, 31, was dealt a 71-year sentence by a Placer County judge on Wednesday for the 2021 fatal shooting of 48-year-old Cameron Gabriel and the violent torture of his girlfriend, prosecutors said, calling it a "horrific love triangle murder plot."

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Benson was found guilty on charges of murder, torture, and mayhem in September. Prosecutors said Benson, Gabriel, and the torture victim separately met on the Tinder dating platform. At trial, prosecutors contended that Benson, motivated by jealousy, tortured the woman into giving out Gabriel’s address, whom he later ambushed and killed. 

What did the "Tinder killer" do to the woman he tortured?

In July 2021, Gabriel allegedly held the torture victim against her will inside his apartment. Over the course of the alarming episode, prosecutors said he suspended the then-29-year-old victim “to his ceiling with a rope” and tortured her into giving “the address to murder her other lover.”

During the violent episode, Benson carved an image of a swastika into the woman’s back, according to the Placer County District Attorney's Office. "The victim is of Jewish decent," the DA's office stated. Prosecutors said he tortured his former lover in order to obtain information related to Gabriel’s location. Once he got the California man’s address, Benson went to Gabriel’s home and shot him to death.

According to the DA's office, Benson claimed he’d shot Gabriel in self-defense, but surveillance footage largely disproved his version of events. "Surveillance shows Benson running into the victim’s home in the middle of the night, followed by immediate gunfire and Benson running out of the home yelling 'That’s right, [expletive],'" the DA's office stated.

“This is a day for justice for the victim and the victim’s family,” Placer County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jeffery Moore said in a statement. “The defendant shows a clear danger to the public and a callous disregard for human life. Removing Benson from society is the only way to ensure he doesn't victimize anyone again."

“We recognize this verdict will not bring [the victim] back and that we cannot undo what this defendant has done to their family,” Moore added. 

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The Rocklin Police Department, which investigated Gabriel’s slaying, called Benson’s sentencing a “great day for justice.”

Gabriel’s obituary stated that he had recently relocated to California prior to his death after spending roughly 20 years living in Oregon. Relatives described him as a “kind and funny” man who “was never known to speak a harsh word about or to anyone.”

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