The grand jury handing the case in the death of Taylor Behl returned an indictment today against Ben Fawley. Ben Fawley today was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Taylor Behl.
Fawley, a 38-year-old amateur photographer, had admitted to a role in Behl’s death. Behl, 17, a freshman from Northern Virginia, was last seen Sept. 5. Her decomposed remains were discovered Oct. 5 in rural Mathews County, which is in eastern Virginia.
Man indicted on charge of murdering VCU student Behl
The county commonwealth’s attorney, Jack Gill, said Fawley was indicted on a first-degree murder charge. “I don’t want to go into any of the evidence in the case,” he told reporters outside the courthouse.
The indictment accuses Fawley of killing Behl in a premeditated act and “in the commission of, or attempt to commit, rape, forcible sodomy or abduction.”
Taylor Behl’s mother, Janet Pelasara, was in the court room at the announcement of the indictment. Janet Pelasara also commented on the indictment handed down today.
Reached by phone today, Behl’s mother, Janet Pelasara, told The Associated Press she was pleased with the first-degree murder charge — though it meant Fawley wouldn’t face the death penalty. “
The death penalty would be too quick, too easy, too painless,” she said. “He needs to be put through the pain and … the horridness that he put my daughter through. “When he gets to prison, maybe that will happen.”
Taylor Behl’s mom, Janet Pelasara, never at a loss for words when it comes to the venom that she has for the man that has allegedly killed her daughter also made the following comment:
Janet Pelasara said this is a message to Ben “I think Ben will know his spiraling down to the depths of hell has just begun.”
Pelasara came to the courthouse in case she was needed to testify before the Grand Jury. She also said she came “as a voice for my daughter.”
Authorities have dropped the weapons possession charge against Ben Fawley; however, he remain in jail on 16 child-pornography charges that police say are unrelated to Behl’s disappearance.
Authorities have dropped the weapons charge against Ben Fawley, the main suspect in the death of Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Taylor Marie Behl. Fawley was to have appeared in Richmond Circuit Court today on a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. Prosecutors recently decided not to go ahead with that case.
The Taylor Behl Task Force Monday released photos of a pond, obtained in the investigation, and is seeking public assistance in determining its location. They are requesting your help in determining the location of this picture.
Photos and the request for public assistance were initially sent primarily to news media in the Virginia tidewater area on the presumption that the pond is likely located in that part of Virginia, according to authorities. Other news media, however, have picked up on the information in the highly-publicized case.
The Task Force did not identify the source of the pond photos. Attorney General’s Office investigator, Les Lauziere, when queried Monday by the Vienna Times, would not say whether the photos were taken from a computer belonging to Ben Fawley, “a person of interest” in the case, currently being held by Richmond police on unrelated child pornography charges.
UPDATE: AP: Pond identified as Behl murder investigation continues
Police looking into the death of college student Taylor Behl say they have identified and located a pond shown in two photographs that are part of their investigation.
Sergeant D.S. Carr with the Virginia State Police said in an e-mail to reporters Monday that the pond has been identified located in an area adjacent to Mathews County , but he cannot say anything else about it because of a judge’s gag order in the case.
Other agencies on the task force include the state attorney general’s office, the FBI, and the Richmond and VCU police departments.
Anyone with information should call police at (877) 244-HELP or (804) 828-1196.
Richmond Times Dispatch: Behl investigators want help
Authorities hoping public can lead them to photographed pond
Two photos of a pond believed to be in Mathews County could prove to be little more than a fishing expedition in the hunt for evidence in the death of Virginia Commonwealth University student Taylor Behl. Sources close to the investigation said Behl task force members gathering evidence on the Vienna teen’s death in September — allegedly during a sexual encounter in Mathews with suspect Benjamin Fawley — have no direct evidence suggesting that the pond is linked to Behl’s death.
Still, the sources said investigators want to know where the pond is because it is one of the few places photographed by Fawley that they have not been able to identify and search in the three months since Behl was last seen alive.
A Judge has placed a Gag Order on witnesses in Behl case according to the Washington Post. This would prohibit any witnesses from publicly discussing their testimony in front of the grand jury that is investigating the death of Taylor Behl.
A Richmond judge has signed a gag order that bars witnesses from publicly discussing any testimony they give to a special grand jury investigating the death of college student Taylor Marie Behl, officials said yesterday.
The order was signed Monday by the judge presiding over the multi-jurisdictional grand jury, which is expected to convene again this morning in Richmond Circuit Court. Grand jury witnesses are generally allowed to discuss their testimony if they wish to.
Police chief, Rodney D. Monroe, requested the a gag order after he became concerned when information about the police investigation was leaked to the media last week, ‘Police Told Death an Accident, Lawyer Says’.
Benjamin Fawley is reported to have told police that Taylor Behl died accidentally while they were having a sexual encounter, according to an attorney representing Behl’s mother. Taylor Behl’s mother Janet Pelasara was quick to respond to such statements.
“Let’s be clear — Ben Fawley murdered my daughter,” Janet Pelasara said during a hastily arranged news conference outside her attorney’s McLean office. “His claim that it was accidental is just one more perversion of the truth in his ever-changing web of lies.”
Fawley told investigators that he had consensual sex with Behl in her car parked near a beach in rural Mathews County, Va., the night of Sept. 5 and that he accidentally choked her, according to George O. Peterson, Pelasara’s attorney. Fawley also told police he panicked after Behl died and dumped her body in a ravine, the paper reported.
Pelasara called Fawley “a big, fat liar” and said she was speaking for the 17-year-old daughter she buried Friday.
“He had a dark side, and Taylor wasn’t a dark side kind of girl.”
“It is apparent that my daughter died a violent and unspeakable death at the hands of Ben Fawley that night and was not a willing participant,” Pelasara said.
According to KXTV investigators continue to search and expand the search to cover the grounds of the Thunder Valley Casino property for any sign of 27-year-old Sacramento woman, Christie Wilson, who vanished after spending the night gambling at a Lincoln casino.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Department helicopter and ground teams on all-terrain vehicles spent much of Sunday scouring the property around Thunder Valley Casino to look for any sign of 27-year-old Christie Wilson. It was the second time the area has been searched.
Investigators believe Wilson and 53-year-old Mario Flavio Garcia met in the casino and spent much of the evening of October 4 gambling together. Wilson was last seen on a surveillance tape walking through the casino parking lot with a man investigators believe is Garcia at 1:15 a.m. on October 5.
Police have arrested Mario Flavio Garcia, the last known person seen with Christie Wilson.
Detectives arrested Garcia Friday evening near his Auburn home. He was booked on two felony counts of illegal weapons possession. The charges stem from a search of Garcia’s property conducted as part of the investigation into Wilson’s disappearance.
According to the sheriff’s department, bail for Garcia has been set at $1 million. The high amount is reportedly due to Garcia’s criminal history and concerns that he might be a flight risk.
Man Last Seen With Missing Sacramento Woman Arrested
Mario Flavio Garcia was arrested near his Auburn area home Friday night. They took him in on felony weapons charges, after investigators uncovered un-registered weapons during a search.
Still authorities are playing it safe, only calling him a “person of interest.”
“For us to name him a suspect at this point, we have to have a better level of probable cause other than the weapons charges. We still don’t know if a crime was committed although we suspect it,” said Lt. George Malim, Placer Co. Sheriff’s Department.
Update: Man Last Seen With Christie Wilson In Court
(CBS 13) AUBURN Several new developments in the case of a missing woman last seen at the Thunder Valley Casino in Placer County. The Auburn man who authorities consider a “person of interest” in the disappearance of the 27-year-old woman has made his first court appearance. And a new witness who saw the two together has come forward.
Fifty-three-year-old Mario Garcia plead not guilty to weapons charges Tuesday afternoon. He’s been behind bars since Friday with his bail set at $1 million dollars.
These charges are unrelated to the disappearance of Christie Wilson, Placer County detectives said again today he is the only ‘person of interest’ in the case. A person of interest who was the last to ever been seen with Christie Wilson. It would appear that many of these cases all have the same MO wouldn’t they, Christie Wilson, Taylor Behl, Julie Popovich and Natalee Holloway? Who was the last individual ever seen with the missing girl?
Christie Wilson, 27, Missing in California
Others covering Christie Wilson: Christie Wilson – Missing in CA
According the Richmond Times Dispatch in statements given to police by Ben Fawley, he now admits to being with Taylor Behl when she died. However, he is now claiming that it was an accident during an intimate encounter with Taylor in her car the night she was last ever seen. I guess we are to assume he was not abducted as originally told by Fawley?
Amateur photographer Ben Fawley has admitted to being with Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Taylor Marie Behl when she died, but he says her death was accidental, according to a jailhouse statement he has given to police.
Fawley, 38, has told police that Behl died during an intimate encounter he had with her in her car the night she was last seen, sources close to the investigation told The Times-Dispatch last night.
I think we have heard this defense before. (Robert Chambers and Jennifer Levin/Preppy Murder). It is truly sad how the perpetrators of crimes must impugned the character of their victim.
Fawley, over the objections of his lawyer, summoned police to the jail to talk Wednesday night. Sources said he described the 17-year-old girl’s death as an accident that occurred when he restricted her breathing during the encounter.
Ben Fawley’s account of the events that took place are as follows. I guess we are to believe that at 10:30 at night two people get into a car and travel 70 miles from campus and just happens to be near the property of the parents of an ex-girlfriend?
Fawley said they were near a beach in rural Mathews County, about 70 miles east of Richmond in the early hours of Sept. 6, the sources confirmed.
Behl was last seen by her roommate at her VCU dormitory around 10:20 p.m. on Sept. 5.
The sources said Fawley also told police he panicked after Behl died and later placed her body in a ravine off a dirt road on property that adjoins land owned by an ex-girlfriend’s family.
The disclosure in Fawley’s jailhouse statement has provided investigators with a solid connection between Fawley, a felon who has been de- scribed as suffering from bipolar disorder, and the death of the teen from Vienna in Fairfax County.
Steve Huff over at The Dark Side has done some great work with the Taylor Behl case, don’t miss.
In what is every parent’s worst nightmare, Friday Taylor Marie Behl was laid to rest in Vienna. Taylor’s life memorialized by her friends and family.
A funeral today commemorating the life of Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Taylor Marie Behl was “beautiful and touching, short and sweet, just like Taylor’s life,” her mother said.
Such and event is beyond words as one could only understand the pain and agony that Taylor’s family is experiencing. One can only empathize with their despair and hope that justice id done for their daughter.
More than 500 friends and relatives said good-bye this morning to Behl, a 17-year-old teenager whose remains were found in a wooded area of remote Mathews County about a month after she disappeared.
She was memorialized in a 45-minute funeral held at Church of the Holy Comforter in her hometown of Vienna in Fairfax County.
After the service, a gaunt and devastated Janet Pelasara, Behl’s mother, told reporters she hoped the next time she speaks publicly about the case would be to announce the arrest of the “sick subhuman . . . who murdered my beautiful daughter.”
God Bless and rest in peace Taylor.
Update: An Outpouring of Grief for Slain Student, Taylor Behl, Slain Teen’s Mother Lashes Out
As hundreds of mourners poured out of the funeral yesterday for Taylor Marie Behl, her mother broke down and lashed out at the person who killed the college freshman and left her body in a ravine east of Richmond.
“May the courts see fit to give him the death penalty so he may continue his downward spiral into the depths of hell,” a sobbing Janet Pelasara said in a brief statement to reporters outside the Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna.
On a day that should have been one of great celebration, friends, family, well wishers and loved ones said their goodbyes instead to Taylor Marie Behl.
They lined up outside the Money & King Funeral Home in the raw drizzle of an overcast October afternoon to say goodbye.
They saw a closed, reddish-brown casket containing the remains of Taylor Behl on what would have been her 18th birthday.
“A beautiful girl. Beautiful,” said Samantha Murat, one of many mourners drawn to yesterday’s visitation by sorrow and sympathy for a family tragedy that unfolded before a nation.
“I feel like she’s my own. I feel so bad for family,” Murat said in broken English. “She’s in the heaven now. What can you say to parents . . . no words.”
From The Washington Post: An Outpouring of Grief for Slain Student
Taylor Marie Behl would have turned 18 yesterday, a milestone the slain college student eagerly anticipated and wrote about in her online journal. Instead, dozens of relatives, friends and strangers filed into a funeral home in Vienna to bid farewell, one week after her remains were found in a ravine east of Richmond.
“I can’t stand it. How does this happen to a young girl like that?” said Samantha Murat, a longtime Vienna resident who attended the closed-casket viewing with her sister. “It’s just so very sad. I feel like she is one of my own. I watched her every night [on television]. I saw her parents inside. I told them I didn’t know her, but I feel like I know her. I told them she’s in heaven right now. What can you say to parents? [There are] no words.”
Other Related Posts:
Medical Examiner’s Office releases Taylor Marie Behl’s Body to her Family
Taylor Behl May be Buried On her 18th Birthday
As reported tonight by Jim Nolan of the Richmond Times Dispatch on MSNBC’s Rita Cosby and Fox News with Greta Van Sestran tonight, Ben Fawley used (correction: his credit card)
Taylor Behl’s credit card to buy gas. It was also reported the gas was purchased with his Taylor Behl’s credit card in New Kent County lies between Richmond and Mathews County.
8 News has uncovered new details in that case as well. According to multiple sources, Fawley’s credit card was used to buy gas in New Kent County around the time Behl disappeared. New Kent County lies between Richmond and Mathews County, where Behl’s remains were found.
From MSNBC, Rita Cosby ‘Live & Direct’ for Oct. 12th
JIM NOLAN, “RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH”: Well, Rita, what we know is that sometime in the morning following the night Taylor Behl is said to have disappeared, Ben Fawley’s bank card was recorded in a purchase of gasoline and other items in a location somewhere between Richmond and Mathews County. Mathews County as you know is the location where Taylor Behl’s body was found just last week.
COSBY: You bet. Now, the credit card trail that Jim’s talking about
if, indeed, there’s this purchase from the, quote, sort of “prime suspect,” Ben Fawley, who is a guy who had a relationship with Taylor Behl
credit card purchase in between these two counties the morning of, means he was traveling either to or from. That is pretty significant, right, Vito?
COLUCCI: Oh, that’s very big, Rita. It shows that he’s lying. As an investigator, you knew from day one that he’s lying, but this gives you ammunition now to sit across the table and point your finger at this guy, who basically said he was almost abducted by, let’s say, aliens, mysterious people, OK, that nobody knew about or anything else. Then he says he puts gas in a Spanish person’s car who mysteriously just picks him up and drives him back.
It’s ridiculous stuff. You got to wear this guy down. He’s too used to talking to young kids and getting away with stuff. He’s not going to do that. This is a good PD down there.
COSBY: Now, let me play devil’s advocate, Vito. He’s alsoâ€”if he did do this, he’s pretty dumb because you leave a paper trail.
More at the Dark Side and Steve Huff
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, following tests done by the medical examiners office; Taylor Behl’s body was released to her family. There was no conclusive results found as a cause of death according to the medical examiner’s office.
The body of Taylor Marie Behl was released to her family yesterday as sources close to the investigation into her death said the medical examiner’s office will need more tests to determine how she died.
One law enforcement source close to the investigation said the initial autopsy showed “nothing obvious” that would allow investigators to definitively establish a cause of death. The case is listed as “pending.”
“We need a much deeper analysis,” said the source, noting that the process to identify a cause could take weeks as forensic investigators await the results of additional tests on her remains, described as mostly skeletal.
The family has the sad task of making arrangements for the burial of Taylor Behl. There will be a visitation tomorrow and the funeral will take place on Friday.
George O. Peterson, an attorney for Behl’s mother, Janet Pelasara, said plans were to hold a visitation tomorrow — on what would have been Behl’s 18th birthday — followed by a funeral Friday, both in her hometown of Vienna in Fairfax County.
Peterson said the services would be closed to the media and all but “family, friends and well-wishers” of Behl.
Yesterday, the Police task force investigating the Taylor Behl case issued a plea to residents of Mathews County for any information about Behl. Specifically, police are interested in talking to anyone who saw the following items:
Virginia license plate “GRN ERTH”;
Virginia license plate “JPC 2848″;
Ohio license plate “EP 34 KW”; and
a white Ford Escort.
needs the help of citizens in Mathews County.
Police are asking anyone who may have seen her white Ford Escort in the county to call authorities.