Last Updated on November 2, 2022
A Buffalo man who was arrested after his estranged wife uploaded a video of her being savagely beaten to Facebook in a plea for help, immediately killed his wife after being released without bail in connection with the beating. The mother of three was murdered in front of her children, sparking fresh outrage over the state’s no-cash bail policies.
Adam Bennefield, 45, who has a prior conviction for kidnapping another ex at gunpoint, is being charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his 30-year-old wife, Keaira Bennefield.
According to the New York Post, Keaira Bennefield was gunned down while taking her young children — whose ages range from 6 months to 9 years-old — to school on the morning of October 5. The mother of three was ambushed on a road and subsequently shot dead in front of her young children, police said.
Adam Bennefield allegedly carried out the killing just one day after his release from custody in connection with a domestic violence incident. He was released without bail despite savagely beating his now-deceased ex-wife in a disturbing video that the victim uploaded to Facebook as a cry for help.
The accused killer could be seen punching, kicking and stomping on the victim, who begged him to stop. Adam Bennefield was arrested a few days later the video was posted. He was slapped with misdemeanor charges and served an order of protection, which evidently, he immediately violated in carrying out the murder, police said.
He is now facing a litany of charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the killing.
Adam Bennefield has been arraigned on murder in the second degree, criminal contempt and endangering the welfare of a child. He has been remanded without bail. Bennefield is accused of killing his estranged wife, Keaira Hudson. He then led police on a weeklong manhunt. pic.twitter.com/QYFWAEKVqa
— Marlee Tuskes (@MarleeTuskesTV) October 21, 2022
The public has expressed outrage and asked if anything more could have been done, as Bennefield’s violent behavior was well known to law enforcement.
On September 28 when Keaira called 911 to say she’d been punched by Bennefield in her home, the Buffalo News reported. Cheektowaga Police responded to the domestic violence call and obtained an arrest warrant for Bennefield for harassment. Cops told her to notify them if her estranged husband returned to the home.
Fearing for her safety, the victim posted the video to Facebook later that night. “This is what this man dose [sic] to me but i’m always treated like i’m the abuser!” Keaira Bennefield wrote in the post.
The lengthy video (nearly 8-minutes long) allegedly showed Bennefield tackling his wife, pinning her down and savagely punching her repeatedly, the New York Post reported. He was arrested days later after Keira showed the footage to law enforcement.
Despite the disturbing nature of the attack, prosecutors slapped Adam Bennefield with 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 due to a New York law that prevented the judge from from setting bail due to the low-level of the charges, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said.
“There was zero evidence for anything higher than that,” Flynn said of the misdemeanor charges. “The charges were correctly charged. The judge had no choice but to release this person.”
The law — which was enacted by the Democrat-controlled state legislature and upheld Governor Hochul — also prevented the judge from considering his previous armed kidnapping charge in setting bail. New York is one of the few states in the nation that prevents judges from considering the “dangerousness” of accused criminals when determining bail and release agreements.
Following her estranged husband’s release, Keira Bennefield was reportedly in such fear for her life that she wore a bulletproof vest on the morning she was murdered. As she was driving her kids to school, Adam Bennefield allegedly crashed into the car before gunning his ex-wife down with a shotgun.
He then fled the scene and was later apprehended after a week-long manhunt. He has been held without bail since his October 21 arraignment and faces life in prison if convicted.
New York’s lax cash bail laws, which have led to numerous instances of recently released felons committing homicide, have become a major topic leading up to the state’s razor close gubernatorial race. Republican challenger Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has vowed to amend the state’s bail reform laws if elected.
Hochul has at times criticized the state’s “bail reform” laws, though she has yet to call for any policy changes. The New York governor recently framed public outcry over rising crime as an altered perception due to media coverage.