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Virginia man charged with murder in shooting at Martinsburg apartment complex

March 17, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 39-year-old Virginia man who is being held at the Washington County Detention Center has been charged in a March 6 homicide at Suncrest Apartments in Martinsburg, according to court records.

A warrant charging Jonathan Frederick Bennett with murder was issued Thursday by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. MIller,  the court records said.

Bennett was being held Thursday on $150,000 bond, a jail official said.

Police allege Geronimo Garcia-Cruz, 26, of 102 Camden Drive in Winchester, Va., was shot in Ashley Nicole Carpegna's second-floor apartment, where Bennett was staying.

Bennett, of 2186 Barracks Road in Charlottesville, Va., was jailed on several drug-related charges March 9, according to online court records.

Carpegna, who has been charged as an accessory in the homicide, was arraigned Thursday afternoon by Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow, who set a $40,000 bond for her.

Carpegna waived extradition Wednesday during a District Court hearing in Hagerstown.

She is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact to murder in the slaying of Garcia-Cruz, who was found shot to death in a stairwell at the apartment complex at 6:25 a.m., according to the sheriff's department.

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Hours before Garcia-Cruz was shot, he met Carpegna at the strip club where she worked, police said Monday. Garcia-Cruz was with two men, and he and one of his companions negotiated "an illicit informal business agreement" with Carpegna, according to Berkeley County Sheriff's Department investigators.

After leaving the club, they went to Carpegna's apartment, where Garcia-Cruz, a Mexican citizen, was shot, police have said.

Carpegna was interviewed by investigators and admitted to concealing or destroying evidence in and around her apartment, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Carpegna and Bennett both were jailed in Washington County last week on multiple drug charges that are unrelated to the homicide case, police said.

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