A Buffalo man who escaped last weekend from Alden Correctional Facility pleaded guilty today to charges of kidnapping and jail escape and now faces more than 20 years in state prison.
Adam Bennefield, 22, entered his plea just as jury selection was about to begin before State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti.
Bennefield, who had faced a possible 50-year state prison term if convicted after a jury trial, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted second-degree kidnapping and first-degree escape.
Rossetti committed to a prison term of at least 20 years but assured Bennefield he will be spared the maximum 50-year term he had faced. He remanded him to jail pending his Nov. 17 sentencing.
The last-minute plea deal came after a series of closed-door talks between Alan D. Goldstein, Bennefield's lawyer, and prosecutors Luke T. Jacobs and Kenneth Forrest Case. The three lawyers all declined to comment as they left court.
Bennefield, a Cornwall Avenue resident, was arrested in March after abducting an estranged girlfriend and her friend at gunpoint from a car the two women were in on the Kensington Expressway and forcing them to drive his vehicle to Grand Island and back with police cars in pursuit.
He was being held in the Alden facility, awaiting trial, when he escaped Friday and eluded police for 19 hours. Bennefield gave himself up to Buffalo police about 5 p.m. Saturday at the Alma Avenue home of a friend after he locked himself in the flat, cut his wrists with a kitchen knife and threatened to blow up the building with fumes from a gas stove.
According to jail officials, Bennefield climbed over a 15-foot-high fence topped with razor wire and ran off. His escape has led to calls for increased security measures at the facility.