LAKEVIEW, NY (WIVB) – Hamburg police announced charges against three men and three women after a 25-year-old man was found dead in a wooded area near Heltz Road in Lakeview early Sunday morning.
Police say Brenden Benoit, 25, of Boston, NY, was found dead with stab wounds around 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Jared Adamski, 26, was charged with the most serious crimes for stabbing – first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault – while the others were charged as co-defendants.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said investigators believe Benoit was lured to the area by the three women while the men waited in the woods. When Benoit fled to the car, he was stabbed multiple times in the groin area, Flynn said, and he was then taken into the woods.
Police have charged the five co-defendants with second-degree felony assault: Harrison Drozen, 20; Connor Krone, 22; Kayleigh Skybyk-Schuh, 19; Larissa Smith, 18; and Elexus Dean, 20. All were from Hamburg.
Flynn said the other five people were charged under the accomplice liability theory, but he believes they had no idea manslaughter was going to take place. He added that the victim and the suspects knew each other.
“The alleged plot here was just to brutalize and beat the victim, and that’s it,” Flynn said. “And so the fact that the individual ended up being stabbed by Mr Adamski in the back of the car, I think it’s probably safe to say, would have surprised a number, if not all, of the others participants in this crime.”
Flynn said investigators believe they know the motive for the attack, but he would not comment on it at Monday’s press conference.
The defendants were arrested on Monday afternoon. Adamski is being held without bond and the co-defendants are being held on $100,000 cash/bond or $200,000 partially guaranteed bond. Additional charges are possible.
If convicted, Adamski faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. The maximum possible for co-defendants on the assault charge is 7 years, according to the prosecutor’s office. The six defendants will return to court on Friday.