WJTV News Channel 12 - Petition aims to reinstate Pinellas desk clerk who found body

Petition aims to reinstate Pinellas desk clerk who found body

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Those who think Ronald Benjamin should be put back on the job are asking people the Peterborough Apartments in St. Petersburg to sign a petition.

It asks Carteret Management to recognize what they call an honest mistake: Early Wednesday morning, Benjamin, a desk clerk, found the body of a suicide victim and thought it was a mannequin. He helped throw the body in a dumpster, and was fired.

Many are asking why 96-year-old Nancy Yates would leap 16 floors to her death. Some are also trying to figure out why management fired the 61-year-old Benjamin.

Ann Desrosier is part of the petition drive.

“It was terribly unusual circumstances. And I don't think any of us know how we would have reacted in the same, in his shoes,” said Desrosier.

Other residents are also coming to his defense, saying he should be re-hired.

“He wanted to hide it from the tenants. So he was really doing his job,” said resident Dorothy Vaskelis.

The story is lighting up the News Channel 8 Facebook page.

"Give the guy his job back. He didn't kill the woman, he just made a horrible mistake," wrote Michele Kaufman.

Others are less sympathetic.

"Poor guy. But seriously, how did he (and the guys who helped him) not recognize the difference between a mannequin and a dead body to a dumpster?" wrote Cryssie Cherry.

The management of the Peterborough Apartments did not comment on the petition.

When Ronald Benjamin was asked if he’d take his job back if the petition drive works, he said: “in a heartbeat.”

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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