www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

Homicide suspect gives up

Other W-B shooting suspect still at large

Benji Benjamin arrives for his arraignment Wednesday morning in Wilkes-Barre to face an open count of homicide.

Clark Van Orden/The Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE – One of two men charged in connection with a deadly shooting early Tuesday remained at large Wednesday night.

The other suspect walked into the Wilkes-Barre Police Department and surrendered Wednesday morning.

Benji M. Benjamin, 22, entered the lobby of the police building at about 9 a.m., approached an officer and turned himself in, Luzerne County District Attorney Jacqueline Musto Carroll said.

The second gunman, Don D. Farrell, 28, last known address as 45 N. Sherman St., Wilkes-Barre, remains on the run.

“It was very uneventful, there was no fanfare,” Musto Carroll said about Benjamin’s surrender. “I’m grateful that he surrendered; he avoided any problems with police and investigators in having to find him. I hope Don Farrell follows and turns himself in.”

Benjamin’s surrender came nearly 20 hours after city and county detectives alleged he gunned down 38-year-old Thomas Benson outside Liam’s Place, 780 N. Washington St., at about 1:25 a.m. Tuesday.

Farrell is accused of shooting Christopher Krisanda, 40, in the leg.

Krisanda was listed in critical condition at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Plains Township, on Wednesday, according to a nursing supervisor.

Musto Carroll said Benjamin, Farrell and two other men arrived together at the tavern.

Once inside, Farrell and Krisanda were involved in a fight. After the fight spilled outside, witnesses claimed Farrell brandished a .380-caliber handgun and shot Krisanda, according to arrest records.

Benson exited the bar at about the time Krisanda was shot, and followed a group of people across the street where investigators say Benjamin fired five shots from a .25-caliber handgun, hitting Benson four times in the torso.

Benson was found near the tavern’s parking lot across the street. He later died at Geisinger Wyoming Valley.

Investigators suspect Benjamin and Farrell, with the two other men, sped away in the same vehicle after the shootings.

Musto Carroll said investigators have spoken to most patrons at the bar, including the two men who arrived and left with Benjamin and Farrell.

“We’re talking to everyone who was there,” she said.

After Benjamin surrendered, he was arraigned by District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre on an open count of criminal homicide and carrying firearms without a license. He was jailed at the county correctional facility without bail.

Benjamin said nothing when he was escorted to Kane’s courtroom. He covered his face with his T-shirt when he entered the building and hid his face behind arrest records when the arraignment ended.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled on June 11 before Kane.

Farrell is facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and carrying firearms without a license.

Farrell has arrest records dating back to 10 years ago, court records show.

Arrests include charges of disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, harassment and drug possession between 1999 and 2001.

Records show Farrell was sentenced nine years ago to a year probation after he was found guilty of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief in July 1999.

During his probation, Farrell was arrested twice by Wilkes-Barre police on new charges.

In 2001, Farrell pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and fleeing police charges stemming from an offense in 1999.

Jen Marckini, a Times Leader staff writer, contributed to this report.

HAVE A TIP?

Anyone with information that may help Wilkes-Barre police locate suspect Don Farrell should call 826-8106.

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map