26 Years After Murder, Note to Cops Leads to Arrest

Jade Benning accused of stabbing boyfriend Christopher Harvey in Santa Ana, California
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2022 6:05 PM CDT
26 Years After Murder, Note to Cops Leads to Arrest
Christopher Harvey   (Santa Ana Police)

(Newser) – For more than two decades, police in Southern California wondered who killed 22-year-old Christopher Harvey in his own apartment. Then they got a major hint contained in an anonymous note. The letter, submitted to police in January 2020, implicated Harvey's live-in girlfriend Jade Benning, who'd pointed the finger at someone else. Benning, also 22 at the time, claimed a Black male intruder entered the couple's Santa Ana apartment while they slept around 3am on Jan. 4, 1996, then stabbed Harvey multiple times in the torso during a struggle, reports the Orange County Register.

Neighbors overheard an argument lasting 15 minutes, per CBS News. Benning, who was also 22 at the time, gave only "general statements about the incident," Santa Ana police said in a Tuesday statement. She was never charged. With the anonymous note, detectives found a reason to seriously question her story. While they have yet to divulge what it said, they say it indicated that Benning, who moved out of state within five years of the death, was responsible.

It was some time before that could be confirmed, according to police. A detective "examined the case and conducted extensive follow-up to include forensic testing," according to the statement. Though a murder weapon was never found, per the Register, "ultimately, sufficient evidence was collected to obtain a criminal complaint, and a $1,000,000 warrant was issued" for Benning, police said. The 48-year-old was arrested by the US Marshals Service near her home in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, per Fox News. She's likely to be extradited to California to face a murder charge. (Read more murder stories.)

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