Keaira Bennefield, 40 years old, was shot and killed less than 24 hours after husband Adam Bennefield, 45, was released from prison for the charges of domestic violence.
Keaira was the mother of three children aged five years, nine years and six months. She was taking her children to the school when Adam attacked her and shot her dead in front of the children.
Few days before her killing Keaira posted a video on Facebook which showed Adam apparently attacking her. On the post she wrote, “This is what this man does to me but I’m always treated like I’m the abuser.”
The domestic violence video appears to show Adam raining punches down on her and then kicking her multiple times when she falls to the floor. Police attended the incident but Keaira did not need to be taken to hospital.
Adam was arrested over the attack a week later after Keaira showed the footage to police.
But despite the shocking beating, Adam 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.
He was arraigned in Cheektowaga Town Court on October 4 but was released because state law prevented the judge from not setting bail due to the low-level of the charges, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said.
Flynn continued: “The charges were correctly charged. The judge had no choice but to release this person”.
Adding insult to injury, under bail reforms enacted by the Democratic controlled state Legislature, the judge couldn’t even consider Adam’s 2000 conviction and 15-year prison sentence for kidnapping an ex-girlfriend and another woman at gunpoint because New York is one of the few states across the US that doesn’t allow judges to weigh the “dangerousness” of a perpetrator in considering bail.
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. The suspect fled but was tracked down by police on October 12 thanks to a tip from a member of the public.
He was now been charged with the slaying but has pleaded not guilty to Keaira’s murder, as well as other charges in the case. Adam’s bail has now been denied and he will next appear in front of a judge on Wednesday, November 2.