Davyon Bentley

Davyon Bentley

Davyon Bentley was already on the run, accused of invading an ex-girlfriend's home, when he shot and killed a different ex-girlfriend Wednesday, police said.

Detectives had issued a warrant for his arrest two months ago, alleging he forced himself into an ex-girlfriend's apartment and fired two shots in front of her and several children. Despite weeks of searching, police were unable to find Bentley, who now faces a homicide charge.

Bentley, according to police, shot and killed a different woman at her house Wednesday night. Police said three of her children were home when Bentley shot through the front door after she refused to let him inside. 

Brenda Mullens, 40, was transported to the hospital but later died from her injuries. The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of Joyce Drive, which is off Greenwell Springs Road near BREC's Oak Villa Park. 

Detectives quickly identified Bentley, 24, as their suspect. Police said he fled the scene before officers arrived and is now wanted on a litany of counts stemming from her death and the prior home invasion involving a different woman. 

Domestic violence incidents and deaths have risen to an alarming level parishwide in 2020, a trend law enforcement predicted during weeks of lockdown in the beginning stages of the pandemic. Authorities warned that people would be trapped at home with their abusers in a time of unprecedented instability and uncertainty, which could amplify violent incidents behind closed doors.

Mullens' death brings the parish's total number of domestic violence homicides to at least 15 so far in 2020, according to unofficial records kept by The Advocate. That number is a significant increase over previous years.

Her death also comes just two weeks after another fatal domestic incident at a Tigerland apartment complex in which Pauliqua Evans, 22, was shot and killed, also in front of her children. Police recently arrested a man in that case but have released few details about the circumstances. 

With Mullens' death, police say, Bentley committed the latest of several acts of violence against women, but this time reaching a new level.

Bentley was already wanted for home invasion and illegal use of a weapon, among other counts, after he harassed a different ex-girlfriend in July, according to police. The arrest warrant in that case describes how he forced his way into the woman's apartment and fired a gun twice in front of her and four children. The bullets struck a window and a vehicle parked near her home, but no one was injured.

Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. said detectives were actively searching for Bentley in the intervening months, trying to execute the warrant. They even regularly visited Mullens, who had recently started dating Bentley, knocking on her door to see if he was there or inquire about his whereabouts.

It was then that Mullens decided to break up with Bentley, given all the chaos he had brought to her front door, McKneely said.

Bentley arrived at Mullens' home Wednesday night and the two began to argue, police said. Mullens, who refused to let Bentley in her house and was speaking to him through a closed door, said she did not want anything to do with him anymore. Bentley then fired his gun through the door, according to police.

Another warrant has now been issued for his arrest, accusing him of one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm and illegal use of a weapon. He is considered armed and dangerous, police said. 

The three attempted-murder counts involve the threatening behavior toward the victim's children. When reached at their residence Thursday afternoon, the family expressed their grief and said they weren't yet ready to talk about what happened.

Civil court records indicate a another woman had also accused Bentley of abuse prior to this summer, although McKneely said police believe he has threatened others too. 

The 2015 petition for a temporary restraining order against Bentley — filed by yet another ex-girlfriend — describes how he regularly physically and verbally abused her. The woman said that even after she ended their relationship, Bentley continued to stalk and threaten her.

"I broke up with Davyon months ago … but he always said he would kill me if I was to date another guy," she wrote. After an initial restraining order was granted, the woman requested the case be dismissed.  

Anyone with information about his whereabouts contact the BRPD Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.