David Bennett was proud of being a taxi driver. He liked to help people. He would bring in elderly riders’ groceries.
That ended in November 2016 when Bennett was shot and killed in his taxi cab during a robbery in Conway.
“He was stolen from us by a person’s actions and decisions,” Bennett’s daughter, Julie Ann Bennett, said Thursday.
Bennett’s family and friends packed one side of a Horry County courtroom as the man who pulled the trigger was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Tranique Livingston, 20, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last week ahead of this week’s sentencing hearing.
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Everyone that met Bennett enjoyed his presence, Julie Ann Bennett said. When he died it wasn’t a situation where the family got to sit by his bedside and say their goodbyes, she said.
Bennett, 54, was kindhearted, compassionate and the family hero, his daughter said.
Joan Dow, Bennett’s sister, asked for Livingston be sentenced to the maximum 30 years in prison for his plea. She said their family will never see Bennett again and there was no good in letting Livingston walk free again.
“My brother Dave Bennett was a good man,” she said.
Even when Livingston is released, he will still be younger than the person he killed, Dow said.
Defense Attorney Barbara Pratt also discussed her client’s age and said he was an 18-year-old senior at Carolina Forest High School at the time of the shooting.
“It’s still going to be a longer sentence than he’s actually been alive,” she said.
Livingston had difficulty during his teen years after a family member was killed, Pratt said. His aunt, Mary Washington, expressed condolences to the Bennett family and said her family hurts as well.
“I’ve never seen him angry,” Washington said of Livingston. “He was always good with my grandchildren.”
Senior Assistant Solicitor Lauree Richardson said Livingston didn’t have a previous criminal history as an adult as he was only five months past his 18th birthday when the shooting happened. She detailed his lengthy juvenile record, including charges of assault and battery and destruction of property.
The state believed Livingston was a violent person, Richardson said.
“I don’t believe he set out to kill Mr. Bennett,” Richardson said. “I do believe he set out to commit an armed robbery.”