Police: Teen stabbed Brandon Bennett while he was sleeping; parents thought they were friends

Brandon Bennett

The 17-year-old accused of killing a popular teenager last month broke into his house, went into his bedroom with a kitchen knife and stabbed him while he was sleeping, according to investigators.

Terrell Smith, 17, is accused of murder in the death of 18-year-old Brandon Bennett of Charleston.

Bennett's father told a judge on Thursday that Smith had been to the house several times and he thought the two teens were friends.

"He has been to my house," Bennett told Magistrate Linda Lombard at Smith's bond hearing. "He has eaten my food. I've shown him love. He has played games with my son."

Brandon's mother, Latrease Bennett, also spoke to the judge.

"I would like to know why he had so much hatred in his heart to murder my son," she said.

"I cannot ask him that question, ma'am," Lombard said.

About two dozen of Brandon's friends of relatives were in the courtroom. About 200 of them showed up for a vigil at Waterfront Park after he was killed.

His friends said he never caused any trouble and had never been arrested. He was attending Trident Technical College.

When Bennett was killed, Smith was out on bail after a March arrest for narcotics, according to court records.

Police previously gave Smith's address as Audubon Avenue in North Charleston, but he told Lombard he lived on South Tracy Street in Charleston. That's just a couple blocks from Bennett's house on Congress Street.

Lombard could not set bail on a murder charge. She denied bail on Smith's other charges, which are first-degree burglary, attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Police said Smith cut a window screen to enter Bennett's house at about 7:51 a.m. June 11. Smith stabbed Bennett several times with a kitchen knife while he was in bed sleeping, according to the arrest affidavit.

Bennett's father witnessed his son being stabbed, and Smith also attacked him, according to the affidavit. Bennett told police he chased Smith out of the house and returned to find his son sitting in a storage room off a back bedroom. Brandon was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. at Medical University Hospital.

Smith was arrested June 16 in Alabama and brought back to Charleston earlier this week.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.