Vero Beach orthopedic surgeon Johnny Benjamin gets life in prison

Vero Beach spine surgeon Johnny Benjamin sentenced to life in prison.
Vero Beach spine surgeon Johnny Benjamin sentenced to life in prison.

VERO BEACH – Orthopedic surgeon Johnny Benjamin was sentenced to life in prison Friday for producing and distributing fentanyl that caused the September 2016 overdose death of a Wellington woman.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas, who wasn’t swayed by awards Dr. Benjamin won for helping at-risk kids or the support he offered young athletes in Vero Beach and Indian River County.

Benjamin began trafficking fentanyl and other narcotics because he was desperate for money that ultimately claimed the life of 34-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Crowley, the judge said.

Crowley’s husband, parents, siblings and other members of her extended family tearfully urged the judge to send the 52-year-old doctor to prison for life.

“Dr. Benjamin may have been an upstanding citizen and a pillar of society, but he knowingly was doing things that put people’s lives in danger, including my wife and many others,” said Shaun Crowley, who moved back to upstate New York after his wife’s death.

“He’s an absolute monster,” Crowley continued. “He has absolutely no remorse. If he wasn’t caught, he’d still being doing it today – killing people.”

Benjamin showed no emotion as Crowley’s family told Dimitrouleas of the hole Maggie Crowley’s death left in their lives.

Dimitrouleas sentenced Benjamin to life on charges of conspiracy with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in death and distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.

The physician, who once gave the commencement speech at Indian River State College, served on a powerful committee to vet judicial nominees and also worked with the NFL on safety issues, was also sentenced to 20 years each on three other drug charges. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Benjamin’s new attorney, Philip Reizenstein, vowed to appeal.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.