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.