Benny Anthony Dees was born May 12, 2003, in Oxford, Mississippi.
His father, Ted, is chief cardiologist at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, and his mother, Doris, is an ophthalmologist. After marrying in July of 1998, Ted and Doris moved to Mississippi where both had accepted positions at Baptist Memorial in Oxford.
After a traumatic midterm miscarriage in 2000, the couple was thrilled with the birth of their only child a few years later. While Ted continued to work full-time, Doris stayed home with Benny until he started the first grade, and then she went back to work.
From the beginning, Benny demonstrated his parents' aptitude for science. He tore through several junior chemistry sets, mixing chemicals with such abandon that a neighbor once called the fire department.
His parents encouraged his scientific interests, and they also insisted that he attend church with them every Sunday and help with the youth ministry — obligations Benny fulfilled begrudgingly.
In school, Benny quickly outpaced his fellow students and took to showing off, disrupting the class with derisive commentary whenever a classmate hazarded an incorrect guess. Although his grades were outstanding, teachers knew him to be "a handful."
As soon as Benny was old enough, Ted enrolled him in youth football, hoping to dissipate some of Benny's aggressive energy. Benny continued playing into high school, where he made the varsity team as a sophomore.
The varsity athlete was popular with his teammates and had no small share of female fans. He used his precocious understanding of human biology and sexuality to tease female classmates. Ted and Doris despaired and briefly considered sending him away to boarding school but ultimately decided closer parental attention would benefit him more.
Although his science and math grades were stellar, Benny lacked interest in the humanities. His parents urged him to expand his interests lest he lose out on the chance to attend a top college.
He took Trevor O'Shea's drama class in his junior year to fulfill a course requirement. After his friends Mark Gable and Larry Eastman badgered him to volunteer with them for an Oxtales production, he reluctantly agreed. Benny ended up enjoying the backstage work and was fascinated by director Andrea Stover and her preoccupation with sexual themes.
When his parents took an active role in Stover's arrest and prosecution, Benny was at first devastated, then rebelled, slacking off on schoolwork and running with a less wholesome crowd.
When he started skipping Sunday morning church services, his parents sat stoically in the pew without him. Afterward, they applied decreasingly-effective discipline in the hopes of bringing him back into line.
In late July of 2020, Benny declared he "needed some time off" and insisted on applying for a summer job as a busboy at Cobbs Seafood. The work seemed to ground Benny, and his parents held high hopes for his successful return to school in the fall.
But almost immediately, Benny was caught smoking pot on campus, booted off the football team, and suspended for a week — prompting Doris and Ted once again to consider sending their son to a military or religious school where strict discipline would prevail.
In the end, Benny persuaded them to let him remain at home, but his schoolwork continued to suffer. He failed several final exams and, upon turning 18, promptly moved out of the house and dropped out of school.
He is currently a waiter at Cobbs Seafood and plans to finish his GED in the coming year.