Carnival workers accused of Farmer City murder

Carnival workers accused of Farmer City murder

CLINTON — Two employees of a carnival company are accused of murdering a rural Farmer City man, whose body was found in Farmer City on Saturday morning.

The body of 21-year-old Blayne Benefield was found around 7:16 a.m. Saturday in a lot near downtown by a pedestrian who immediately notified the police.

The investigation resulted in the arrests of James Jacquart, 25 of Manitowoc, Wis., and Alexander Jacquart, 22 of Valders, Wis. Both men were employed by Big H Amusements of Fairbury. The men each face charges of first degree murder and armed robbery.

The preliminary findings of Monday's autopsy indicated Mr. Benefield died of strangulation and stabbing, DeWitt County Coronor Randy Rice told The LeRoy / Farmer City Press.

State’s Attorney Karle Koritz, whose office filed murder charges Monday, described the killing as “a senseless act of violence” and praised the work of the law enforcement agencies involved, including the Illinois State Police, DeWitt County sheriff’s office and the Farmer City Police Department.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Benefield’s family,” the DeWitt County prosecutor said in his press release.

Big H Amusements was the carnival operator for the Farmer City Heritage Days festival, which closed on Sunday. No one from the company would answer questions Monday afternoon.

The Jacquart brothers remain in custody at the DeWitt County Jail. Bail has been set at $1 million each. If convicted of the murder charges, each faces a minimum of 20-60 years in prison and will be required to serve the whole sentence.

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loweez67 wrote on September 09, 2013 at 3:09 pm

It is so sad that we brought the carnival to our town for some fun family time and these two "men" created a sense of insecurity in our own town.  I really think the carnival should have been shut down out of respect for the deceased but I guess it was done to try to keep life going as normal.  Farmer City is usually a quiet town but this weekend shocked us all with the criminal activities that happened over the weekend.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased and the shooting victim. I do believe the whole town is praying for you. 

bkr0521 wrote on September 09, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I guess it would be nice to shut down an event that people worked hard on for an entire year out of respect for a deceased person, but it's not very practical.  There were community organizations in the park Sat trying to raise money who should not be punished for someone else's misdeeds.  Also, how do you tell young children that the carnival that they have been looking forward to has been cancelled because of the actions of two of the carnival workers?  As I said, it's a nice thought.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on September 09, 2013 at 6:09 pm
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Carnies: It's like inviting an entire prison wing into your town for a weekend. What do you expect from a society of people whose sole purpose is to trick you out of your money?

bkr0521 wrote on September 09, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Regardless of the actions of these two, most of the carnival workers were very pleasant and polite.  They were not obnoxious about getting you to come play games and at least one carnival worker let a couple girls ride a ride for free.  So don't lump all carnival workers together.  

taz6056 wrote on September 17, 2013 at 8:09 am

hello i am so sorry to hear of the lost of such a young man. i know Blayne well he was a good guy and was loved by many we will all miss him very much. but i think that they need to check other places where the carnnival was set up and see if anyone else has been robbed by these 2 guy/murders. who knows how many others were robbed by these 2 guys. WE LOVE YOU BLAYNE AND WILL MISS YOU