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Man Stabbed and Killed His Neighbor Because Her Music "Disturbed" His Scrabble Game Allegedly

He claims his hearing is extra sensitive in his defense.

A man in France allegedly stabbed his neighbor to death, claiming her loud music playing prevented him from playing online Scrabble in peace. The 41-year-old man, identified only as "Benjamin C," is accused of killing Romane, a 21-year-old student who lived below him, on May 16, 2020. That night, she had reportedly invited a small group of friends over to her apartment to celebrate the end of the first COVID lockdown in Lyon. Read on to find out more about the case, including what happened the night of the stabbing, what Benjamin told police, and what's happened to him now. 

Music Source of Conflict

bookshelf speaker with remote controller and smartphone on a TV stand

According to police reports, Benjamin was playing a game of online Scrabble when he was disturbed by the music Romane was playing. (Neighbors later said the music wasn't that loud.) He paused his gaming to knock on the door of her apartment. Then, authorities allege he pulled a knife and stabbed Romane in the femoral artery, a blood vessel in the leg supplying blood to the lower body. The woman was taken to the hospital but died two days later. 

A Stabbing, Then Back to the Game


TFI reported that as Benjamin entered the apartment holding a knife, Romane said, "You're crazy." Then he stabbed her, and she collapsed. One of her friends chased Benjamin away from the apartment by brandishing a barstool. Benjamin was identified by Romane's roommate. When police arrived at his apartment, they found him calmly playing Scrabble online. 

Benjamin admitted stabbing Romane because she was making too much noise with her friends, then wiping the murder weapon clean before resuming his game, TFI reported.  He coolly asked the investigators, "How is she?," the news outlet said.

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An Apparent Background of Conflict

Law Offender in Orange Jumpsuit is Questioned and Giving Testimony to Judge, Jury

Benjamin appeared in court on Tuesday. He is pleading not guilty to intentional murder. Lawyers said the defendant only meant to scare the victim. They claimed his poor eyesight had made his hearing more sensitive and that he "didn't realize he had wounded anyone." Psychologists testified that he wasn't suffering from mental illness but instead had "expelled a buildup of tension," the Daily Mail reported. 

This was apparently not the first conflict between the neighbors. Benjamin said he had sent multiple letters to the management of his building, demanding his younger neighbor's lease be terminated and even offering to pay to speed up the process, TFI reported. He said he had called the management four times to encourage that result. When nothing happened, he exploded.

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