Murdered mother Keaira Bennefield’s family could sue New York authorities for releasing the violent ex without bail
The family of Keaira Bennefield – the New York state mother-of-three who was allegedly executed by her estranged ex-con – is considering a lawsuit against authorities who released her ex on bail under the state’s lenient laws, her lawyer told The Post.
“The family feels the authorities dropped the ball here, resulting in a heinous act of violence and the murder of a daughter, sister and grandchild,” attorney John Froman said of the potential wrongful death lawsuit.
Bennefield, 30, was allegedly ambushed and shot execution-style by Adam Bennefield as she was walking her children to school on October 5 – less than 24 hours after he was released without bail over an on-camera smack she posted on her Facebook page in a desperate cry for help.
“If there hadn’t been bail reform, this person would never have been released,” he said of Bennefield’s abusive wife.
Just three days before her death, she told Cheektowaga police, “I thought I was going to die,” during the sickening September 28 attack at her home.
Froman told the Post he’s in the early stages of the legal investigation and wasn’t sure yet whether the lawsuit would be against state agencies or local law enforcement — or both.
However, he said he had already uncovered troubling red flags.
“The whole issue is whether this guy should have been on the street,” Froman said.
“The police authorities had evidence, not shared with the prosecutor’s office, that would have led to a pre-trial detention,” the attorney said, without elaborating.
Meanwhile, Bennefield’s grieving mother, Tammy Hudson, has slammed the Empire State’s criminal bail reform laws — and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s backing of them.
“[Hochul] should be charged with the crime. She is also responsible for the crime,” Hudson previously told the Post from her Buffalo home.
Now that Hochul won a full term in Tuesday’s election, Hudson and her family are pleading with the governor to pass legislation that better compensates loved ones in wrongful death cases, including those who are required to bail without bail under New York City statutes cash, Froman said.
“They strongly encourage Hochul to sign the Grieving Families Act which is on their desk,” he said. State law would greatly expand the financial damages for emotional distress.
A spokesman for Hochul said it was “considering legislation” passed by the Senate in June.
Hochul has repeatedly advocated non-cash bail, claiming it will help heal racial and class divides in the justice system.
Even after her surprisingly narrow victory over Republican Lee Zeldin – who was a strong advocate for eliminating crime – the Democrat seemed in no hurry to reform the state’s controversial laws.
“I will be taking the time with my team and the people in the criminal justice services, my advisors and my legal team to look at ways that we believe we can improve public safety,” Hochul said Thursday in Puerto Rico, where she attends a year-long conference of New York Democrats.
According to the latest NYPD data through November 6, crime in the Big Apple is up a disturbing 29%. Assault, rape and robbery are all up double digits.
Weeks before her death, Bennefield had asked police for protection from her spouse, who had a criminal record for kidnapping another ex at gunpoint.
However, Adam Bennefield was only charged with misdemeanor offenses, including third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree threats, and second-degree wrongful imprisonment.
The minor allegations prevented the judge from setting bail. After the shooting, he was charged with second-degree murder.
Bennefield pleaded not guilty during his October 21 arraignment to murder, aggravated criminal contempt and three counts of child endangerment.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/13/family-of-slain-mom-keaira-bennefield-may-sue-ny-authorities-for-releasing-violent-ex-on-no-bail/ Murdered mother Keaira Bennefield’s family could sue New York authorities for releasing the violent ex without bail