Finn Murder Suspect Benner May Have Had Access to Unlicensed Firearms at Home

Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner’s grandfather was arrested and charged with improper storage of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. (File photograph)

Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner, the 21-year-old Haverhill man charged Friday in the shooting death of Bryce Finn, may have had access to a multitude of weapons police say were unlicensed and improperly stored at his home.

According to a police report from February 2018, Benner’s West Meadow Road condominium—where he lived with his grandparents and brother—contained hunting rifles, handguns and several types of ammunition—all improperly stored in the home’s detached garage.

Bryce Finn. (Courtesy photograph.)

Benner’s 80-year-old grandfather Raymond J. Maczuma was arrested by Haverhill Police and charged with firearms offenses including possession of an unlicensed weapon and ammunition. He was released on personal recognizance following a Haverhill District Court hearing.

As WHAV previously reported, hours before Maczuma’s arrest, Max Benner’s mother, Erika, and brother were both taken into custody on drug charges. According to court documents, officers sat on the Benner family’s West Meadow Road home for a month after neighbors from the condo association complained about alleged drug activity. During that arrest, police seized 180 white, rectangular pills, jars of THC oil and THC cartridges.

Then came Max Benner’s arrest two weeks later on drug charges. Although not detailed at the time, Benner appeared to admit selling Xanax to a victim who was later murdered. Finn’s name was not specifically mentioned.

Set for arraignment Tuesday, Max Benner helps piece together the puzzle that started over the summer when Delaware-based co-defendants Nicholas Mandato, Thomas Warner and Kenneth Pitts were charged with Finn’s murder.

A former elected official with ties to the Benner family told WHAV he is not surprised to hear of Benner’s alleged connection to Finn’s death. Former Delaware state Treasurer Chipman “Chip” L. Flowers Jr.—whose deputy was Erika Benner—said he witnessed Max Benner’s “horrible temper” firsthand.

Flowers charged Benner threatened him and his future his wife during a 2014 Fourth of July Parade in Dover, Del. Flowers said the then-teen pounded on the car’s window, displayed his middle finger and shouted an expletive and racial slur.

According to Flowers, who now lives in Boston, Finn’s death may have been prevented if Delaware officials acted on his concerns about the Benners. “I will go to my grave believing that, even though I worked with law enforcement, had the State of Delaware prosecuted them for what they did to me and my family, that young man would still be alive today,” Flowers told WHAV.