Sacramento County man convicted of murder in Tinder ‘love triangle,’ Placer prosecutors say

A Placer County jury on Tuesday convicted a Sacramento County man who tortured a woman in a jealous rage and then shot to death her lover in a violent Tinder dating “love triangle,” prosecutors said.

Damon Allen Benson, 31, of Rancho Cordova was found guilty of murder for the shooting death of 48-year-old Cameron Gabriel who was found dead July 25, 2021, in Rocklin.

Benson also was convicted of torture, aggravated mayhem, making criminal threats and false imprisonment by violence, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.

Benson, Gabriel and the woman met separately on the online Tinder dating app. Prosecutors said the three became involved in a “love triangle,” which resulted in jealousy, the torture of a vulnerable female victim and ultimately Gabriel’s murder.

Benson held the woman against her will in his apartment after he “extensively tortured” her on multiple occasions, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Investigators determined the woman was tortured to obtain Gabriel’s home address to kill him.

Officers responding to a report of a suspicious death found Gabriel with gunshot wounds in the 3900 block of East Midas Avenue, near Pacific Street, according to the Rocklin Police Department. Gabriel appeared to have been dead for some time before he was found.

Detectives worked at the crime scene and began following up on investigative leads and tips the Police Department received. In early August, the Rancho Cordova Police Department gave the detectives information that led them to a witness of the homicide, Rocklin police officials have said.

Based on witness statements and other evidence, the detectives identified Benson as the shooting suspect and obtained a warrant for his arrest.

On Sept. 2, 2021, the Rocklin detectives served the arrest warrant at the Sacramento County Main Jail and apprehended Benson. He was already in custody in Sacramento facing felony assault charges in a separate case.

Prosecutors said the jury in the murder trial heard extensive testimony from the woman Benson tortured. The jurors also heard testimony from Sacramento County sheriff’s officials and the District Attorney’s Office investigator assigned to the murder case. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jeffery Moore prosecuted Benson.

Benson will remain in custody at the Placer County Jail until Dec. 5, when he is scheduled to return for his sentencing hearing in Placer Superior Court. Prosecutors said Benson faces a maximum sentence of 71 years to life in prison.