Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner was charged in connection with the murder of Bryce Finn. (File photograph)
This story has been updated to clarify information about alleged wrongdoing by Erika J. Benner in Delaware, and reflect murder suspect Joseph Maxwell Benner was better known under his nickname of “Max.”
Unexpected ties to the state of Delaware that surfaced over the summer in connection to Bryce Finn’s 2017 murder are now becoming clear on the heels of a Haverhill man being charged with the crime.
While Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner’s alleged role in Finn’s murder remains to be seen, he is the fourth suspect with ties to the state of Delaware to be charged in the case. Nicholas Mandato, Thomas Warner and Kenneth Pitts—indicted for Finn’s shooting death in October—all call the state home. As WHAV has uncovered, Benner’s mother, Erika J. Benner, served as the deputy treasurer for the state of Delaware before resigning amid a scandal in 2013.
Benner, currently in the Middleton House of Corrections on unrelated charges, is due in Haverhill District Court Tuesday for arraignment. His appearance before a judge follows his mother and 16-year-old brother’s arrests on drug-related charges in 2018.
As WHAV previously reported, Erika Benner was arrested at her parents’ West Meadow Roadhome in February 2018 after Haverhill Police conducted a month of surveillance on the property following complaints of “drug activity.”
During the incident, Haverhill Police’s Narcotics Unit seized more than 500 Xanax pills, marijuana and THC oils. Joseph Benner was home at the time his mother and brother were arrested, but not taken into custody, police detailed in a court report.
Erika Benner made headlines outside of Haverhill in 2013, when she allegedly misused a state credit card. According to local news outlet The News-Journal of Wilmington, Benner spent thousands of dollars in personal expenses on the state government card, including New England Patriots tickets and limousine service, for her and then Delaware state treasurer Chipman “Chip” Flowers to attend the game. Flowers told WHAV Saturday he believed expenses related to the game were a “gift” and was unaware a state credit card had been used. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by Dover, Del., police in 2014.
Benner is said to have reimbursed the state for all charges, but resigned in disgrace in August 2013 after two years on the job. After she resigned, the former money manager accused her boss Flowers of alleged harassment over text and phone calls. According to Delaware Online, Flowers denied the allegations, which were said to also involve Joseph Benner and his teenage brother, and was later cleared. He now lives in Boston, where he works as an attorney at his own firm and as deputy legal counsel to the Massachusetts Democratic Party.