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Murder of Taylor Behl: 17-year-old student was choked to death by 39-year-old Ben Fawley

Mugshot of Benjamin Fawley
Benjamin Fawley was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Pic credit: Virginia Dept. of Corrections

Taylor Behl was just starting a new life as a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University when the 17-year-old student disappeared on Labor Day 2005. She had left her dormitory room with Benjamin Fawley, a divorced father of two who was over twice her age.

When she never returned, an extensive, nationally publicized search involving multiple law enforcement agencies got underway. The search concluded a month later when Behl’s remains were discovered in a ditch in a rural area.

Fawley was an early suspect in the investigation, and as police looked into his life, they arrested and charged him with possession of child pornography. A charge which was unrelated to the murder.

Ben Fawley put a plastic bag over Taylor Behl’s head

Fawley argued during his confession that he and Behl had had consensual sex in his car. He said that at Behl’s request, he had bound her hands and legs and put a plastic bag over her head.

He claims she told him, “Choke me, I want to gasp for air. I want to think I’m gonna die. I want to really gasp for air, you know.” According to Fawley, she then threatened to tell her mother that he had raped her.

At this point, he said he “flipped out” and doesn’t remember what happened next. He then says he panicked and dumped her body in the woods.

In August 2006, Fawley entered an Alford plea, which allows a defendant to acknowledge that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him without admitting guilt. He was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30-years in prison.

While in prison, Fawley wrote a letter to a friend where he stated: “People don’t like me. They never do. As a child, I had no friends … I was a bother. In the way. A problem. So I spent most of my life alone.”

Behl on arriving in Richmond in August had written in her diary, “I have no comprehension of the wonders Richmond will hold for me.”

More from Before I Die

Follow the links to read about more murder victims profiled on ID who implicated their killers before they died.

In 1986 Deputy Sgt. Floyd Moore of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit was shot dead at the Turtle Lake apartment complex in Panama City, Florida. However, before he died, he had taken his would-be killer’s ID and placed it in his breast pocket. This put the cops onto his killer’s trail.

In Texas in June 2008 Glen Denson, shot his wife, Sharon Denson, and her boyfriend Sidney Dees seven times each, he then tried to burn their bodies. Although severely injured, Sharon managed to flee the scene, she died in hospital a week later, but before she did, she uttered, “my husband did it.”

If I Should Die- Vanished in Virginia airs April 9, at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.


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