ITHACA, N.Y. — Jury selection is slated to start Tuesday for a man accused of murdering a Cornell student nearly a year ago.

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Benjamin Cayea, 33, was arraigned on one count of second-degree murder in a Tompkins County Court on Jan. 2. He’s accused of  strangling 23-year-old Cornell senior Shannon Jones on Thanksgiving Day in Cayuga Heights.

Matt Van Houten, Cayea’s lawyer, entered a not guilty plea on Cayea’s behalf at the arraignment.

The jury selection is expected to last two days before the first day of the trial starts next Friday, officials said.

An official confirmed that Cayea had two psychiatric evaluations is September. All records in regard to the evaluation are not accessible to the public at this time.

Related: Who is Benjamin Cayea?

Cayea allegedly confessed to strangling Jones at 400 Triphammer Road in Apartment 2-D of the Westview Apartments, near Cornell’s north campus, around 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

He then drove Jones’ car to his friend’s home.

Records state that Cayea admitted to the friend that he strangled Jones. The friend called police, who first went to Jones’ Cayuga Heights Apartment where they found her on the floor.

Jones was pronounced dead by a doctor from Cayuga Medical Center after efforts to revive her were unsuccessful.

Cayea was arrested at his friend’s home. Records show that Cayea said “I choked her” after getting into a fight.

“I’m sorry you guys have to deal with this,” Cayea said to police, according to records. “I’m sorry your guys had to find her like that.”

Cayea has been incarcerated without bail since his arrest.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia argued during the January arraignment that Cayea should be kept in custody because, among other reasons, he faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia answers questions from the media after a hearing at the village of Cayuga Heights courtroom in December.  (Zac Peterson/IthacaVoice)

This story was compiled using stories written by Editor Jeff Stein.

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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.