Va. man waives extradition to Berkeley County, W.Va., on murder charge

Jonathan Frederick Bennett is charged in the March 6 shooting death of Geronimo Garcia-Cruz

April 07, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Bennett

A day after his preliminary hearing on local drug charges, Jonathan Frederick Bennett was back in Washington County District Court Thursday, this time to waive extradition to Berkeley County, W.Va., on a murder charge.

Bennett, 39, of Charlottesville, Va., is charged in the March 6 shooting death of Geronimo Garcia-Cruz, 26, of Winchester, Va., whose body was found in the stairwell of an apartment building at the Suncrest Apartments in Martinsburg.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department charged Bennett with shooting Garcia-Cruz, alleging that he was killed in the second-floor apartment of Ashley Nicole Carpegna, an exotic dancer Garcia-Cruz had met several hours earlier at the strip club where she worked.

Carpegna, 26, had taken Garcia-Cruz and his companions to her apartment after negotiating "an illicit informal business agreement," police said. Carpegna was charged as an accessory to murder after the fact for allegedly destroying or concealing evidence after the murder, the sheriff's department said.

Assistant State's Attorney Arthur Rozes told District Judge Dana Moylan Wright that Bennett was wanted on warrants from West Virginia. After Wright advised Bennett of his rights to contest the extradition, he waived those rights.

Bennett was in Washington County District Court Wednesday on a dozen drug-related charges, including distribution of heroin and cocaine resulting from the  purchase of drugs arranged by the Washington County Narcotics Task Force on March 8. Probable cause was found during the hearing to move his case to Circuit Court.

Carpegna also faces drug charges in the March 8 incident outside a restaurant in Hagerstown, Assistant State's Attorney Leon Debes said Wednesday.

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