Charles C. Benoit was indicted by the Clay County Grand Jury on felony animal abuse charges Wednesday, and was arraigned at 9 this morning in Division One of Clay County Circuit Court. He entered a plea of innocent. His next court appearance is 1:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in Division One of Clay County Circuit Court. His bond remains set at $25,000, though I expect a bond reduction request will soon be filed by Benoit's attorney. As before, he remains represented by the local office of the Missouri Public Defender's System.
No trial date has yet been set.
Because Benoit was indicted, the preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 19th has been cancelled; those of you tracking this earlier case through circuit7.net should soon see it replaced by the indictment, which will carry title State of Missouri vs. Charles C. Benoit. The new docket number is CR102-2901.
A brief account of the indictment appears on The Kansas City Star's web page:
I visited with the Star reporter earlier today (Wednesday), there may be a similar follow-up in tomorrow's editions which restates what I say above. If there's anything more significant, I'll pass it on.
As before, I must reiterate what the Missouri Supreme Court rules say:
A charge is not evidence of a crime; it is an accusation. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless there are either pleas or findings of guilty.
Locally, there has been little more coverage than that sent you earlier. A minorly irritating editorial appears in The Liberty Sun. Its link, if you care, is:
The Clay County Circuit Court's web page where you can track cases remains:
You may access the court's server through a "public access" feature; you will need to know the defendant's name or the docket number to be able to track the case.
There is an on-line web page petition with nearly 30,000 signers; its address is:
It has taken on the feeling of an on-line community with wide-ranging dialogue between the signatories.
There's a very minor misstatement on this page; any punishment imposed in this or any case will be done by a party other than the prosecuting attorney. If this case goes to trial and jurors convict the defendant, the jurors will also assess punishment as either fine, incarceration or both fine and incarceration. If the defendant pleads guilty, it will be the court which first assesses then imposes punishment. In Missouri, jurors assess punishment on those offenders who have no prior felony convictions, which would be the case should State of Missouri vs. Charles C. Benoit (CR102-2901) go to trial.