After a Backyard Murder and Terrorizing a Family, Diamond Griffin Is Headed to Jail


On the night of July 8, 2013, Francisco Hernandez-Benitez lay in his backyard in south Minneapolis, feeling the sticky air on his skin. With him were his brother and brother-in-law, trying to cool down with a few adult beverages after spending hours in the sweltering heat at their construction gig.

But then Diamond Griffin emerged from the alleyway close by. And everything changed.

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From the way court documents describe it, Griffin and his partner in crime, Ryan Grant, posed a menacing figure. They crept in by foot, then revealed themselves to the brothers. They were robbers, with guns. And they wanted money, cell phones, anything.

A cacophony broke out.

"Give me your fucking money," Griffin shouted to the men. They didn't have any, they pleaded.

Hernandez-Benitez's brother-in-law couldn't move, only shriek with fear. They all tried to run and find safety. But it didn't work. Griffin unleashed his handgun on the three men, killing Francisco and wounding his brother before dashing away. It left one dead, another wounded, and another frightened out of his mind like he'd never been before.

For the crime, Griffin is getting a life sentence with parole: at least 30 years in prison, with potential for far more. Grant, meanwhile, tried to get out of it, telling police that Griffin was the mastermind. But he came around and pleaded guilty to helping out the robbery and the murder. He'll be sentenced later this month. And the haunting episode will finally be over.

Send your story tips to the author, Robbie Feinberg. Follow him on Twitter @robbiefeinberg.