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Case facts: Trappler was once married to Borden, and had a child with Bennett
Authorities unveil some murder details at press conference
WATKINS GLEN, April 25 -- The woman arrested and arraigned Tuesday night in connection with the murder of Daniel Bennett on April 19 had a common-law child with Bennett and was once married to Thomas Borden, the murder suspect who was killed by a train Monday morning in Jenkintown, Pa., while fleeing police.
Those relationship facts -- rumored on the street for the past few days -- were confirmed by Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman Wednesday morning at a press conference held in the county's Legislative Chambers. Present with Yessman were District Attorney Joe Fazzary and State Police BCI Capt. Scott Crosier of Troop E headquarters in Canandaigua.
The press gathering -- far more informative than one held on the sidewalk outside the Sheriff's Office Tuesday afternoon -- also revealed the following facts derived from the investigation that started the night of the murder:
--Bennett and Alice Trappler, the Addison woman accused of 2nd Degree Murder Tuesday night, produced a female child (who is still an infant) during a relationship they had over an unspecified period of time. The custody of the child was being contested in Steuben County Family Court; in fact, a custody hearing was scheduled on Friday, April 20, the day after the murder. The infant is staying with Trappler's mother, who lives in Addison.
--Borden, the ex-husband of Trappler, pulled the trigger of a .12-gauge shotgun to kill Bennett in the latter's home, Yessman said. Borden's stepbrother, Nathan Hand -- who resided with Borden in Corning and was arrested Monday night on a 2nd Degree Murder charge -- was present at the Bennett residence at the time of the killing, Yessman added, but Hand's specific location at the residence was not yet clear. Trappler was not present at the murder.
--The murder weapon was located "at a remote location" in Steuben County, the sheriff said. The weapon is "being processed."
--The pickup truck driven by Borden as he was being pursued by Pennsylvania police on Monday was delivered by flatbed truck to Troop E State Police headquarters in Canandaigua for processing. Whether it has a loud exhaust -- in keeping with a report of a truck with a loud exhaust in the area of the murder near the time it occurred -- is not known, said Yessman, "because we haven't started (the vehicle's engine) yet."
--Police, said Yessman, are "still executing search warrants at other locations" and other arrests could occur, although "the actual people responsible for the crime are in custody at this time" or -- in the case of Borden -- dead. Any further arrests, he added, would be in connection "with the case, but not with the crime itself."
--The type and number of wounds inflicted on Bennett were not discussed. Fazzary said authorities are awaiting an autopsy report, due soon.
--Authorities, the sheriff said, are "not releasing" the motive in the case "at this time." And when asked who initiated the murder plan, he said: "We're still putting things together."
--When asked if -- given an evidence of conspiracy -- there was a possibility of the charges against Hand and Trappler being "enhanced" to 1st Degree Murder, Fazzary said his office is "looking at all options," but that there "is significant case law that might shoot down" a 1st Degree charge.
--The work history and employment of the principal suspects -- Borden, Hand and Trappler -- was unclear. "We're still doing backgrounds," the Sheriff said.
--Authorities were "able to solve this murder as quickly as possible," Yessman said, "because everybody" -- State Police, the Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney -- "worked as one unit. We worked around the clock for five days. A lot of people didn't get home" during that period.
Photos in text:
Top: At the press conference were, from left, District Attorney Joe Fazzary, Sheriff Bill Yessman and State Police BCI Capt. Scott Crosier.
Middle: Media members were busy videotaping and taking notes.
Bottom: The Bennett home, scene of the murder.
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