Benner, 20, Charged in Finn Murder, To Remain in Prison Pending Grand Jury Action

Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner appeared in Haverhill District Court on Jan. 22, 2019 where he was arraigned on a charge of murdering Bradford teen Bryce T. Finn in 2017. (WHAV News photograph.)

Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner appeared this morning in Haverhill District Court where he was arraigned on a charge of murdering Bradford teen Bryce T. Finn in 2017. (WHAV News photograph.)

Twenty-year-old Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner, charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of an 18-year-old Bradford teen in 2017, is expected to be indicted on the same charge by a grand jury before spring.

Benner, of Haverhill, was arraigned this morning before First Justice Stephen S. Abany in Haverhill District Court. Abany ordered him continued to be held in prison where Benner is still serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence on drug charges. He was charged Friday—the fourth man with Delaware connections to be charged with murder in the death of Bryce T. Finn. Finn died from bullet wounds to the chest in the doorway of his Rainbow Drive home on the rainy night of Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Bearded, and clad in a black shirt with white undershirt and gray shorts, Benner was escorted into the courtroom handcuffed. He had been transported earlier from the Middleton House of Correction. Benner was joined in the courtroom by his lawyer, Ronald J. Ranta. Both Ranta and Essex County Assistant District Attorney Christina Ronan agreed to a continuance date of March 1. However, Ronan said, she expects Benner will be indicted by then, moving the case to Superior Court.

The mothers of both Benner and Finn sat in court together. Approached after the hearing, Erika J. Maczuba Benner of Methuen said she would speak for both her’s and the Finn families. Meagan Finn did not object.

“Joseph Benner has the support of his family. We know our son and the truth will come out,” his mother said. “It’s obviously a terrible time for our family and the Finn family. I ask that everyone respect our privacy during this time as well as the Finn family,” Benner said.

Asked about allegations about her and her family made over WHAV by former Delaware Treasurer Chipman “Chip” L. Flowers Jr., Erika Benner declined to address them directly. Mrs. Benner, now of Methuen, served as Delaware’s deputy treasurer before resigning over alleged misuse of a state credit card 2013. She did reiterate claims she made in Delaware that Flowers had harassed her.

Flowers told WHAV this past weekend that not only were claims against him dismissed, but that Finn’s murder could have been prevented if Delaware had acted on his concerns about the Benner family.

Flowers told WHAV, “my deputy was using the card for financial difficulties relating to her drug addiction and secretly paying back the money through a sympathetic person in the Treasurer’s office.” He also said he had a 2014 run-in with the then-16-year-old Max Benner during a Fourth of July parade. Flowers said the then-teen pounded on the car’s window, displayed his middle finger and shouted an expletive and racial slur.

This is a developing story.