NY man sprung on no bail in Facebook-posted beating executes wife in front of kids just hours later: cops

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

NY man sprung on no bail in Facebook-posted beating executes wife in front of kids just hours later: cops​



By
Emily Crane,

Reuven Fenton,

Carl Campanile and

Gabrielle Fonrouge


November 1, 2022 4:47pm
Updated















A mom of three was executed in front of her kids less than 24 hours after her estranged husband was sprung from jail on no bail over a caught-on-camera beatdown she’d posted to her Facebook page in a desperate plea for help.
The shocking case — in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s western New York hometown — has sparked fresh outrage to New York’s no-cash-bail laws and to the governor and fellow Democrats for refusing to repeal them.
Adam Bennefield, 45, who has a prior conviction for kidnapping another ex at gunpoint, is now charged with shooting dead his 30-year-old wife, Keaira Bennefield.
The victim was taking her young children — ages 6 months to 9 years — to school on the morning of Oct. 5, when he ambushed her on a road and gunned her down, authorities said.
Bennefield was free to carry out the alleged murder after being released from custody a day earlier on only misdemeanor charges despite the horrific attack on his wife inside her home.
Tragic Keaira Bennefield had shared the sick footage of Bennefield allegedly punching, kicking and slapping her on Facebook in a cry for help less than a week before she was murdered.
Now, in the weeks since the grim slaying questions have continued to mount as to whether more could have been done to prevent Keaira’s demise.
Keaira Bennefield Keaira Bennefield, 40, was shot dead allegedly by her estranged husband in Buffalo, NY on Oct. 5 in front of her three children. Facebook/Kearia Hudson Footage of the attack in the victim's home The mom-of-three posted footage on Facebook that showed Bennefield allegedly attacking her in her home a week before she was gunned down. Facebook/Kearia Hudson
The ordeal first erupted back on Sept. 28 when Keaira called 911 to say she’d been punched by Bennefield in her home, the Buffalo News reported.





Cheektowaga Police responded to the domestic violence call and obtained an arrest warrant for Bennefield for harassment. Cops noted that Keaira didn’t need to be hospitalized for treatment and told her to call if her estranged husband returned to the home.
The mom posted the disturbing video, which was captured on surveillance cameras inside her home, later that evening with the harrowing message: “This is what this man dose [sic] to me but i’m always treated like i’m the abuser!”
The nearly eight-minute video allegedly showed Bennefield tackling his wife, pinning her down and savagely punching her repeatedly.
Bennefield was arrested over the attack a week later after Keaira showed the footage to cops.
But despite the shocking beatdown, Bennefield was only hit with a string of misdemeanor charges, including third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree menacing and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.
The video of the alleged attack The nearly eight-minute video showed Bennefield allegedly tackling his estranged wife, pinning her down and savagely striking her repeatedly.Facebook/Kearia Hudson Bennefield in his mugshot Bennefield has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated criminal contempt and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.Buffalo Police Department
He was arraigned in Cheektowaga Town Court on Oct. 4 but was released because state law prevented the judge from setting bail due to the low-level of the charges, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said.
“There was zero evidence for anything higher than that,” Flynn said of the misdemeanor charges. “The charges were correctly charged. The judge had no choice but to release this person.”
Adding insult to injury, under the bail reforms enacted by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and upheld by Hochul, the judge couldn’t even consider Bennefield’s 2000 conviction and 15-year prison sentence for kidnapping an ex-girlfriend and another woman at gunpoint because the Empire State is one of the few across the US that doesn’t allow judges to weigh the “dangerousness” of a perp in considering bail.
Even if Bennefield was charged with a bail eligible offense, the judge still couldn’t consider dangerousness under the current laws. Mayor Eric Adams is among those who have pushed Albany lawmakers to give judges the power to remand suspects deemed a threat to the community and not just whether they are likely to return to the next court date.
The subsequent order of protection that was issued by the judge in Keaira’s case did nothing of the sort.
The following morning, Keaira was so scared for her life that she reportedly donned a bulletproof vest and set off on the school run. As she drove the kids to school, her estranged husband allegedly crashed into her vehicle, pulled out a shotgun, fired the fatal blast and then fled.
He was nabbed a week later after a widespread manhunt and has been held without bail ever since. Bennefield, who is due in court again Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated criminal contempt and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child during his Oct. 21 arraignment.
Keaira Bennefield Keaira Bennefield was gunned down the morning of Oct. 5 as she took her children to school.
After the arraignment, DA Flynn called for the bail law to be amended so a judge can consider dangerousness.
“This could easily be solved with one sentence in the bail law. You don’t have to throw it all out the window,” Flynn told reporters.
“I was an advocate of bail reform initially. I still am an advocate for the majority parts of the bail reform law. I believe the law went too far. I believe that provisions need to be made to the law.”
State Sen. Edward Rath, a Republican whose new district includes part of Buffalo and Western New York, ripped the current bail laws.
“The judge had to release her [alleged] killer Adam Bennefield because there was no dangerous standard to detain him,” Rath told The Post.
“She predicted her husband would kill her. She wore a bulletproof vest. It’s absolutely disgusting.”
Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin pinned the blame on his opponent, Gov. Kathy Hochul, for not stepping up to repeal cashless bail laws.
“Kathy Hochul claims she needs more ‘data’ to repeal cashless bail and give judges discretion to weigh dangerousness,” Zeldin said in a statement at the time. “The reality is that there is a ton of data, and behind these data points are victims.”
He added: “In this case, three kids are going to grow up without a mother, because she was just murdered on a Wednesday by someone released from custody the day before due to cashless bail.
“The judge did not have discretion to weigh dangerousness and keep the suspect detained. Hochul’s pandering to her pro-criminal allies just cost three kids a mother.”
Domestic violence advocates agreed that judges should be able to weigh a pattern of related violence in deciding to set bail.
“We’re seeing very serious problems now with the way, not just courts but prosecutors’ offices, are handling domestic violence cases and this has been complicated by some unintended consequences of criminal justice reforms sadly,” Dorchen Leidholdt, director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families, told The Post.
“I know a lot of leading domestic violence organizations advocated a different standard for bail so judges could take dangerousness in the context of domestic violence into consideration, lethality in the context of domestic violence into consideration and did not succeed in that reform.
“So the result is that domestic violence victims are left under protected in New York state and are at the mercy of their abusers at a time when we’re seeing heightened instances of domestic violence, a high degree of danger in domestic violence cases.”
Leidholdt, who said the women at greatest risk in intimate-partner homicides are those of color, added the “system failed” Keaira.
 

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004


Slain mom of 3 Keaira Bennefield told cops ‘I thought I was going to die,’ just days before she was killed​



By
Reuven Fenton and

Emily Crane


November 2, 2022 7:28pm
Updated









The tragic mom of three allegedly executed by her estranged husband thought she “was going to die” during a savage caught-on-camera beatdown just days before she was killed, a police report reveals.
Keaira Bennefield, 30, gave Cheektowaga Police the now haunting play-by-play as she sought to press charges against her 45-year-old ex-con husband, Adam Bennefield, over the Sept. 28 attack inside her home.
“I was screaming for help the whole time. Adam told me to ‘shut the f—k up’ and that he was going to kill me,” she said in a harrowing statement to cops.
“I thought I was going to die.”
But the graphic description from the victim and horrifying video she posted on Facebook later that day as a cry for help, were still not enough to get prosecutors to charge Adam Bennefield with anything higher than misdemeanors.
He was subsequently sprung from jail on no bail because of the low-level charges on Oct. 4 — a day before he allegedly ambushed Keaira as she took her kids to school and gunned her down.
Bennefield has been charged with second-degree murder in Keaira’s death.
Video of Bennefield beating Hudson Hudson posted a video of the abuse she endured by estranged husband Bennefield. Facebook/Kearia Hudson
But a Supreme Court judge in Buffalo and the Erie County District Attorney’s office now appear to be circling the wagons by not handing over court documents related to Bennefield’s murder case.



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Following a brief court hearing related to the case against Adam Bennefield on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice William Boller refused to give The Post a copy of the suspect’s file.


The clerk’s office also wouldn’t hand over a copy because they said the file was still with the judge. And the DA’s office had earlier told The Post any requests for the criminal complaint needed to be filed with the court.


Keaira’s murder has sparked widespread outrage as critics lamented how Bennefield — who has a prior conviction for kidnapping another ex at gunpoint — was only charged with a slew of misdemeanors, which let him walk free on no bail.


In New York, judges also can’t weigh the “dangerousness” of a perp in considering bail — meaning his prior 2000 conviction, for which he served 15 years, couldn’t be taken into account.


In her harrowing Oct. 3 statement to cops, Keaira recalled how the violence erupted after she returned home the morning after a friend’s birthday party. Keaira said she confronted Bennefield after learning that he had “whooped” her daughter and then left her alone outside their home.


What unfolded next was captured in the sick footage Keaira shared on Facebook days before giving her statement to police.

Keaira Hudson and Adam Bennefield Adam Bennefield has been charged with second-degree murder in Keaira’s death. Facebook/Kearia Hudson
“Adam hit me anywhere he could all over my body,” she told cops. “| was kicking at him to try to get him to stop hitting me and at some point, we ended up on the floor. Adam continued punching me in my arms because | was blocking my face and head.”


Keaira also told police that her estranged husband allegedly ripped off her pants at one point and allegedly “stuck his hand in my vagina.”


The terrified mom said she started screaming for Bennefield’s sister Rachel, who lives in an apartment upstairs.


“Adam answered the door for Rachel and he told her that he was not done with me and that | was not going anywhere. Adam also told Rachel that | wasn’t getting out of there alive,” Keaira told cops.


After her sister-in-law left to alert police, Keaira said Bennefield “picked up a knife and started pacing.”


He then allegedly picked up multiple other knives and a box cutter.

Adam Bennefield Keaira Bennefield sought charges against her estranged husband for an attack on Sept. 28. Buffalo Police Department
“| was talking to him at that point trying to calm him down because | was fearful for my life. | thought I was going to die,” she recalled to police.




see also​





Buck stops … there: Gov. Hochul points finger at ‘system, judges’ after slain Keaira Bennefield’s mom blames her​






By the time officers arrived, police said Bennefield had barricaded himself in a bathroom and was self-harming with the box cutter.


Cops obtained an arrest warrant for Bennefield for harassment on the day of that incident. The charges weren’t upgraded until Keaira showed them the surveillance video several days later.


An order of protection was granted for Keaira during his arraignment in Cheektowaga Town Court on Oct. 4 — but it did little to protect her.


Domestic violence murder victim Keaira Hudson in a Facebook photo Domestic violence murder victim Keaira Hudson in a Facebook photoFacebook/Kearia Hudson

Keaira donned a bullet-proof vest the next morning to take her kids to school — and that is when, cops say, she was ambushed by Bennefield, who rammed his car into hers and then shot her dead.


In the aftermath, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn was adamant that no felony charges could have been filed against Bennefield to prevent him from being released without bail.


“We don’t fabricate evidence, we don’t upgrade charges unethically when the evidence is not there,” he insisted to reporters, despite the harrowing video evidence and the woman’s own statements to police.


“The charges originally were misdemeanors, that’s what the evidence was. There was zero evidence for anything higher than that. The charges were correctly charged and the judge, again, had no choice but to release him.”


Asked if the shocking video warranted harsher charges, Flynn responded: “Absolutely not, absolutely not, absolutely not. Emphatically 100% not. Could I be anymore clearer?”


He added: “The injuries and the evidence did not sustain higher charges. We can’t charge on optics. The optics are bad. The optics are awful. But the evidence needs to be there to the victim to elevate the crime. The evidence was not there, she was not injured at all.”


Police noted in their report that Keaira was examined at the scene because she was having pain in her wrist but there was “no obvious injury.”

Keaira Hudson and Adam Bennefield Keaira told police that her husband allegedly threatened to kill her. Facebook/Kearia Hudson
She also told cops that she was “otherwise unharmed,” according to the police report.


The DA’s office has repeatedly declined to comment on the case to The Post given it is pending prosecution.
 
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