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Victim in Lake View killing was stabbed 4 times, left to bleed to death

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3 suspects in Lakeview stabbing death indicted

Three suspects were indicted Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in the July 10 fatal stabbing of Brenden Benoit in a wooded area of Lake View.

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On the night of July 10, three women picked up Brenden Benoit, 25, of the Town of Boston and brought him to a wooded area off Heltz Road in Lake View.

There, according to police and prosecutors, three men lay in wait.

Assistant DA Ryan Haggerty talks about how the suspects in the July 10 fatal stabbing of Brenden Benoit lured him to a secluded area of Lake View where Jared M. Adamski allegedly stabbed Benoit four times and then “dragged him to a clearing to bleed out in the middle of nowhere.”

It was a plot they had devised over the previous several days, said Erie County Assistant District Attorney Ryan D. Haggerty "to lure the victim out in the open."

Then, Benoit was stabbed and left to bleed to death and the three men and three women returned to their apartment in the Village of Hamburg, where prosecutors say they burned physical evidence to try to conceal what they had done.

On Friday, Jared M. Adamski, 26, of Hamburg, who authorities say was the one who stabbed Benoit four times, was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence, both felonies. He had been remanded in jail since his arrest in July.

He appeared before Erie County Judge James Bargnesi to face arraignment.

Also appearing before Bargnesi were Harrison J. Drozen, 20, who has since moved to North Carolina, and Kaleigh A. Skybyk-Schuh, 19, both of the Village of Hamburg. They were also indicted by a grand jury. Like Adamski, Drozen was charged with second-degree murder and tampering. Skybyk-Schuh was charged with first-degree manslaughter and tampering.

They had been arrested previously but were out after posting bail. The judge had set a $100,000 cash/bond or $200,000 partially secured bond for both.

On Friday, they were remanded along with Adamski. Court officers handcuffed both and led them into the holding area next to the courtroom.

Also indicted were Connor E. Krone, 22, and Elexus Dean, 20, of the Village of Hamburg who will be arraigned over the next few days. The grand jury didn't indict the third suspect, Larissa C. Smith, 18, of the Town of Hamburg who was initially arrested. DA John Flynn said her case is still under investigation.

In arguing for the judge to remand Drozen and Skybyk-Schuh, Haggerty, of the DA's homicide bureau, described some of the allegations.

"They chose a secluded spot far away from any potential witnesses and far away from anyone who could have helped the victim," Haggerty said in court. He is prosecuting the case with Assistant District Attorney Gina M. Gramaglia of the Special Victims/Domestic Violence Bureau.

He said Skybyk-Schuh drove Benoit in the vehicle, with the two other women and brought him to the location.

There, three men "ambushed" Benoit, Haggerty said. One of the men allegedly punched Benoit who went back into the car to try to escape. Then, prosecutors say, Jared M. Adamski pulled out a knife.

"Jared Adamski plunged his knife in the victim four times and dragged him out to a clearing to bleed out in the middle of nowhere," Haggerty told Bargnesi.

Benoit was found dead about 1:45 a.m.

In the meantime, the six "sped away to the apartment that they shared," Haggerty said.

"They gathered up bloody evidence including personal effects of the victim and burned them in an effort to conceal their crimes," Haggerty said.

During the investigation, police found a knife that they believe was thrown from the vehicle, Flynn later said in an interview.

Haggerty argued that the three defendants should all be held in jail while awaiting trial because of the seriousness of the charges as well as their alleged attempt to destroy evidence.

The defendants' attorneys did not offer their own arguments, noting that the case is expected to be transferred to a different judge.

Defense attorney Herbert Greenman, who is representing Drozen, noted that the prosecution had allowed Drozen and Skybyk-Schuh to appear in court to turn themselves in rather than be arrested and taken into custody.

In July after the six men and women were arrested, the mother of one of those criminally charged in Benoit's death said it happened in the same area where Benoit previously sexually assaulted her daughter. The alleged previous assault did not come up during Friday's court proceeding or their initial appearance in Hamburg Town Court.

The mother told reporters in July that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by Benoit on July 2 in the same area where Benoit died, raising the possibility that Benoit was assaulted in retaliation. She said her daughter had filed a police report about the assault. The mother, however, denied her daughter had lured him to the woods.

None of the defense attorneys commented after the proceedings.

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Chief of the Breaking News/Criminal Justice Desk

I've worked at The Buffalo News since 2005. I previously worked as a reporter at the New York Daily News and the Charlotte Observer and was a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

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