BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin is calling for bail reform after 40-year-old Keaira Bennefield was shot and killed, allegedly by her husband, in front of her children, while wearing a bulletproof vest and fearing for her life.
“There are too many pro-criminal laws getting passed right now up in Albany,” Zeldin said. “When do we say it's time to start sticking up for law-abiding New Yorkers instead of sticking up for criminals?”
Her husband, Adam Bennefield, is suspected of committing her murder after he was released on cashless bail after facing five different charges, including assault, harassment, and menacing — none of which are bail-eligible.
The release also comes after Bennefield had already spent 15 years behind bars for kidnapping. Zeldin says his criminal history should have been able to be taken into consideration.
“These charges that were brought should be bail eligible,” Zeldin said. “The judge should have the ability to keep this person detained.”
But attorney Barry Covert says that doesn’t paint the whole picture.
“To think that the judge should have anticipated that somebody charged with misdemeanors is now going to be at risk of committing a homicide is a real stretch,” Covert said.
Zeldin says if cashless bail was repealed, suspects like Bennefield would have been less likely to commit this crime in the first place.
But still, Covert says he finds that hard to believe.
“I don't know how anyone can think that just because an individual posts money for bail that would prevent a future crime,” he said. “I've heard that as an argument. It doesn't make a lot of sense.”
Bennefield is still at large. Crime Stoppers is currently offering a $7,500 reward for any information that can lead to his arrest.