On October 23, the Tennessee native assaulted a waiting passenger and used homophobic slurs toward him, and had to be restrained by onlookers, who tackled Benham. He was led away by airport security, and later faced Class C misdemeanor charges of public intoxication and simple assault.
Although Benham yelled numerous antigay slurs, including “queers” and “faggot,” before kicking a passenger in the groin, police did not pursue hate-crime charges. Another passenger may also have sustained a broken ankle in the ensuing melee.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Benham ultimately received a fine of $474 for his actions: $212 for public intoxication and $262 for the assault. He is not required to serve any jail time.
According to the local court administrator Cindy Etaki, after Benham’s arrest, he “posted a cash bond and signed a conditional plea of nolo contendere,” which is an agreement to not contest charges if the defendant does not appear in court.
“And since he hasn’t had any correspondence with the court, we’re ready to enter that conditional plea of nolo contendere and forfeit the bond,” Eteaki concluded.