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Ex-corrections officer found dead Wende guard pleads not guilty in fatal beating

The body of Joseph A. Benaquist, a retired corrections officer at Wende Correctional Facility in Alden and a Buffalo-area native, was found in the driveway of his home early Tuesday morning.

Police believe Scott F. Doll of Corfu, a corrections officer at Wende with whom Benaquist ran an auto sales business, beat him to death Monday night.

A Genesee County sheriff's deputy, acting on information about a "suspicious person," spotted Doll walking north on North Lake Road carrying tools and wearing camouflage clothing "pretty well stained in what looked like fresh blood," Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha said.

Police said Benaquist, 66, suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and face. They discovered his body at about 1:33 a.m.

While investigators are still trying to determine what happened, the family is mourning the loss and looking for answers.

Meanwhile, Doll, 46, faces second-degree murder charges.

A grand jury is expected to hear the case Thursday morning, Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said.

Doll was arraigned Tuesday before Town of Pembroke Peace Justice David M. O'Connor and pleaded not guilty, Friedman said. He is being held without bail in Genesee County Jail.

Benaquist's family said they were shocked when they learned about what happened.

Benaquist, who lived on Knapp Road, had moved to Pembroke about 10 years ago, said Alice Benaquist, his ex-wife. She said he had worked at several correctional facilities prior to Wende. The couple had three daughters and a son.

Doll was carrying a lug wrench, a large screwdriver and a car jack when the sheriff's deputy confronted him after a call placed to the Sheriff's Office at 8:41 p.m.

The items will be sent to a lab for testing, but investigators said they don't believe they were used in the attack.

Doll was described as "evasive" when encountered by the deputy. His van was parked at a gas station about three-quarters of a mile away from Benaquist's house, on North Lake Road and Route 5.

In the van, police found blood and bloody gloves.

Investigators said Doll was walking back toward Benaquist's home when they found him, though they're not sure why.

He was initially charged with trespassing for parking his van at the gas station, Maha said.

Benaquist lived by himself, and the closest neighbors, who are about 100 yards away, told investigators they didn't hear anything around the time of the attack.

Police called Doll's relatives to ask why he may have been in Pembroke. They said he knew Benaquist and provided his address, according to police. That's the information that led police to the scene.

Benaquist and Doll purchased cars from an auction in Clarence, fixed them up and sold them. They had described the business venture as "informal."

It was unclear whether the two ever worked together at Wende.

Genesee County Correspondent Bill Brown contributed to this report.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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