06/14/2024

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Benicia Knapps, Blake Mohs, David Guillory (image of victim via Facebook; image of suspects via Pleasanton PD)

Shoplifter and getaway driver — who fled the scene with a toddler in their vehicle — sentenced in killing of Home Depot security guard shot dead months before wedding

Benicia Knapps, Blake Mohs, David Guillory (image of victim via Facebook; image of defendants via Pleasanton Police Department)

A California shoplifter and her getaway driver — who fled the scene of the crime with the shoplifter’s toddler in the vehicle — learned their fates this week in the killing of a 26-year-old Home Depot security guard weeks before he was about to get married.

Benicia Knapps, 33, and David Guillory, 32, were sentenced for the murder of Blake Mohs. Knapps was sentenced to 19 years to life. Guillory, the getaway driver, was sentenced to seven years and four months for being an accessory. Knapps pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in a plea deal that covered both defendants and a gun enhancement charge against Knapps, prosecutors announced in a news release in April. Guillory pleaded no contest to child abuse, accessory to a robbery and evading an officer.

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    Outside court, Mohs’ mother, Lorie, told CBS Bay Area affiliate KPIX her son would have offered forgiveness.

    “I know that she could have spent life, forever, in jail,” Mohs told the outlet, referring to Knapps. “But what is that making of me then, if that’s what I want? I want this grace to ripple in their lives like Blake has done for us, and I want them to make much of this opportunity.”

    As Law&Crime previously reported, Mohs was working as a loss prevention officer at the Home Depot store in Pleasanton — 40 miles east of San Francisco — on April 18, 2023, and was shot to death by Knapps after retrieving an item she stole from the store. Police said he “confronted a female shoplifter who resisted and shot him.” Knapps was aided by Guillory, whom cops identified as the getaway driver. Knapps’ 2-year-old toddler was in the car at the time of the shooting, cops said.

    Pleasanton Police Lt. Erik Silacci told reporters that what began as a theft of an “electrical item” escalated to robbery and murder. Silacci said that the suspected murder weapon, which was found at an intersection, was not a legally registered handgun. The killers, both Oakland residents, were taken into custody after fleeing the Home Depot scene, and the child was released to relatives, police said.

    According to CBS Bay Area, once Knapps was in the back seat of an Alameda County Sheriff’s cruiser, she choked herself unconscious with a seat belt, leading her to be placed on a mental health hold as Guillory was booked into the Santa Rita Jail.

    Silacci said he did not know Mohs personally but that those who knew and loved him remember the loss prevention employee and enthusiastic scouting volunteer as a “great person” with a “zeal for life” and an interest in law enforcement. Blake’s grandfather was a police officer.

    Mohs, an Eagle Scout, died at Eden Medical Center months before a planned wedding reception at Camp Royaneh, the Boy Scout campground close to the Russian River where he and his fiancee met when they both worked as counselors.

    “Blake was a well-known member of the community who helped keep customers and staff safe. He was involved in community youth programs and planned to be married in the summer,” authorities said in a Facebook post. “He is survived by his parents, brother, and fiancée.”

    Blake Mohs’ parents spoke out on their son’s death in an interview with local ABC affiliate KGO. Lorie Mohs said her son and his fiancee had known each other for years before falling in love.

    “They looked at each other, and they had seen each other for a long time, but then they saw each other differently, and almost five years later, they were planning a wedding and a future,” Lorie said. “Those were things that I really looked forward to with his future wife and children and participating in,” she continued.

    Eric Mohs, Blake’s father, said, “We lost one of the good ones,” KGO reported.

    A wedding website shows that Blake Mohs and his fiancee were going to get married at church on Aug. 12 in Cazadero. The ceremony was to be followed by a wedding reception at the camp, and guests were invited to bring their camping gear and stay on-site.

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    A Home Depot spokesperson said the company was “heartbroken over the senseless tragedy” and death of “our associate and friend,” according to local CW affiliate KRON.

    Law&Crime’s Matt Naham contributed to this report.

     

    The post Shoplifter and getaway driver — who fled the scene with a toddler in their vehicle — sentenced in killing of Home Depot security guard shot dead months before wedding first appeared on Law & Crime.