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Craig Ingersoll decides not to take the stand in his own defense

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Once the prosecution in the Craig Ingersoll murder trial announced they had called their last witness Friday morning, everyone in Judge Barry Donalty's Oneida County courtroom waited to hear whether the 30 year old would take the stand in his own defense.

After a brief, five minute consultation that Ingersoll had with his attorneys behind closed doors, the answer to that, was no.

Ingersoll is charged with murder and criminal sex act.

In a videotaped interview with Oneida County investigators on March 22 of this year which was played for jurors in court, Ingersoll admitted to picking up 29 year old Jennifer Bennett in West Utica back on a cold night in early January 2007 after offering her forty dollars to have sex.

Ingersoll told investigators Bennett agreed and the two drove directly to the parking lot of the Deerfield Fire House where they had consensual vaginal sex in his pickup truck.

Ingersoll then says Bennett refused to have anal sex with him, so he forced her to do so anyway, and in the process, squeezed her neck.

After the second sex act was over, Ingersoll said he realized Bennett had become unconscious. He said he then panicked and pulled her from his truck, dragging her behind the firehouse and went home.

Bennett's body was found more than a day later covered in snow by a Utica couple who had brought their young son sledding on the hill behind the firehouse.

The prosecution's last witness on Friday morning was Oneida County investigator Christopher Ferguson who was one of the two investigators who questioned Ingersoll during the March 22 interview played for jurors.

Ferguson said he also drafted a written statement that Ingersoll signed.

Prosecutor Laurie Lisi asked Ferguson to read that written statement for jurors.

The statement included the following line, "I realized my hands were still around her neck and Jennifer was now unconscious. In a panic, I pulled Jennifer from the passenger side seat of my truck and I then laid her on the ground. I then dragged Jennifer a short distance from my truck, just enough so I could drive around her and then I left."

Ingersoll's attorney, Oneida County Public Defender Luke Nebush believes his client didn't know what he was going to be questioned about when he was read his Miranda rights.

Nebush asked Ferguson the following question, "When you started your interrogation of Craig, he was under the impression that he was there to see an attorney. He had made mention that he had been called for a professional visit and maybe he would speak with an attorney. Did you inquire into this at all.?" Ferguson replied, "No I did not."

In 2011, Ingersoll pleaded guilty to illegally using a credit card belonging to Habitat For Humanity for his own purchases.

Ingersoll had been a volunteer with Habitat For Humanity.

Once he pleaded guilty to grand larceny, Ingersoll had to submit a DNA sample, and that sample, months later, was matched to hairs found on Jennifer Bennett's body.

This is why it has taken more than five years to bring this case to trial.

After both sides rested their cases Friday morning, Judge Barry Donalty granted the request of both sides to have more time to prepare their summations, so he ordered closing arguments will take place Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

Courts are closed Monday for Veterans Day.

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