ITHACA, N.Y. — Benjamin Cayea, who is accused of murdering Cornell student Shannon Jones, made an appearance at the Tompkins County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.

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“I’m not making any decision either way. We’ll see what happens,” Cayea said when asked how he was feeling about the upcoming trial.

Cayea is charged with second-degree murder for the Thanksgiving Day crime. The trial is scheduled to start next Friday after two days of jury selection.

Related: Who is Benjamin Cayea?

Benjamin Cayea leaves the Tompkins County courthouse Thursday afternoon.

Judge Joseph Cassidy said the motion hearing Thursday was called so lawyers could discuss pre-trial evidence about the case involving Cayea and Jones’ relationship.

Court records show that the two had dated on-and-off.

Cassidy said potential evidence introduced during the hearing — whether it’s allowed in court or not — could “prejudice the jury” of the facts. A motion from an attorney to close the hearing to the public was granted.

Attorney Matt Van Houten is representing Cayea, while Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia is prosecuting the case.

Both lawyers said after the hearing that they could not comment about specific details regarding potential evidence discussed.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.