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30 year old Utica man charged in 2007 Bennett homicide
DEERFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was five years ago, on January 11, 2007, that people sledding behind the Deerfield firehouse found the body of 29-year-old Jennifer Bennett.
On Thursday, the Oneida County Sheriff released the news her family hoped for - they'd made an arrest in her murder - Craig Ingersoll, 30, of Utica.
When it came time to question Ingersoll, investigators didn't have to go far to interview him. They simply had to walk next door to the Oneida County Jail, where he was being held on unrelated charges, including Grand Larceny, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Violation of a Family Court Act.
It was a perfect match DNA hit in September that led Sheriff's Investigators to Ingersoll. Officials said that since he wound up in custody on unrelated charges, they had the luxury of time to continue their investigation and strengthen their case.
Ingersoll is charged with Murder in the Second Degree and Criminal Sexual Act. Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says Ingersoll forcibly sodomized Bennett, then strangled her to death. He is charged with a Felony Murder, but it is not an Intentional Murder charge, which means prosecutors will not have to prove he intentionally killed Bennett; just that he killed her during the commission of another felony-the Criminal Sexual Act.
Jennifer Bennett's family was relieved at the news, but say it dredges up the pain from her death, especially for her three children; two teens and a five-year-old daughter. Bennett's sisters were at the press conference announcing details of her accused killer's arrest. They say they know she struggled with drugs and criminal life, but that those things did not define her. They want people to know there was much more to her than just that.
"I just want people to know that just because you get caught up in the wrong part, there's another side to you that people don't see I mean her kids loved her," says sister Denise Barrett.
The state's DNA databank has been expanded a couple of times in recent years. Prosecutors say it's because of one of those expansions that Ingersoll's DNA wound up in the bank. He was not on police radar before the September match.
Ingersoll was arrested in 2010 for Grand Larceny after police say he charged $3600 worth of items at local home improvement stores to Habitat for Humanity, even though the items were for Ingersoll's personal use. He was a Habitat for Humanity volunteer at the time..
Ingersoll is due in New York Mills Court for a felony hearing on March 27. Until then, he's in the Oneida County Jail without bail.