Arraignment tomorrow for murder five years ago



DEERFIELD — The 30-year-old man accused of killing a Utica woman and dumping her body behind the Deerfield Firehouse is scheduled for arraignment in County Court on Friday.

The murder remained unsolved for five years until a match at the state DNA database led to Craig C. Ingersoll.

Ingersoll, of 805 Herkimer Road, Utica, was indicted Wednesday on one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual act. Ingersoll is scheduled for arraignment before Judge Barry M. Donalty.

An indictment is a formal charge made against a person by a grand jury. It does not establish guilt or remove the presumption of innocence.

Authorities said 29-year-old Jennifer Bennett, of Utica, was strangled to death on the night of Jan. 10, 2007, and her body was left in a field behind the Deerfield Firehouse.

It was discovered the next day in the snow, and for nearly five years, investigators were unable to find or even identify the killer.

However, Bennett had been the victim of sexual assault, and a DNA sample was recovered from the crime scene, authorities said. That sample was added to the New York State DNA database, and in September 2011, that sample finally found a match to Ingersoll, a self-employed contractor.

At the time, Ingersoll had been convicted of grand larceny for using Habitat for Humanity charge accounts of Lowe’s and JK Lumber to buy tools and construction items for his own personal use. Ingersoll’s DNA sample was added to the database because of that conviction.

Ingersoll was finally charged with Bennett’s murder on March 22.

Family members have said that Bennett may have been involved in prostitution, but prosecutors have declined to comment on whether or not that was the reason Ingersoll and Bennett were behind the Deerfield Firehouse. Investigators said she went with him willingly, and that Bennett was killed during the course of a sexual act. Bennett was survived by three children.