2 carnival workers charged with Farmer City holdup, death

2 carnival workers charged with Farmer City holdup, death

CLINTON — Two carnival-company employees face charges in the death of a rural Farmer City man whose body was found Saturday morning.

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

The investigation resulted in the arrests of James Jacquart, 25, of Manitowoc, Wis., and Alexander Jacquart, 22, of Valders, Wis. Both were employed by Big H Amusements of Fairbury. Each faces 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 said.

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 law enforcement involved, including the Illinois State Police, DeWitt County Sheriff's Office and Farmer City Police Department.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Benefield's family," Koritz said in his release.

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

The Jacquarts remain in custody at the DeWitt County Jail. Bond has been set at $1 million each. If convicted of murder, each faces a minimum of 20 to 60 years in prison.

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