Police photo of the apartment where the murder is reported to have occurred

ITHACA, N.Y. — Jury selection begins Tuesday in the murder trial of Benjamin Cayea, who is accused of killing 23-year-old Cornell student Shannon Jones in Cayuga Heights on Thanksgiving Day.

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

Ithaca Voice Reporter Jolene Almendarez is covering the trial. She will be providing live updates of the case on Tuesday here:


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

“This case is not a black and white case,” Van Houten said at a court appearance in January. “There is much more to the facts than stated in the indictment.”

Related: Full coverage of Cayuga Heights killing

Police photo of the apartment where the murder is reported to have occurred

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Bonavia, however, disagreed with Van Houten at that same court appearance.

Requesting that Cayea to be sent to jail without the option of bail, Bonavia pointed to the seriousness of the charge and said Cayea would face a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

“The defendant admitted essentially to the crime that is being alleged,” Bonavia said.


Round-up of previous coverage

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.