The 23-year-old man accused of running down two of his neighbors twice with his car and brutally stabbing one of the women was, as expected, indicted Monday by a grand jury.
Jake T. Kavanaugh, of 15 Fairview Farm Road, Haverhill, is likely to be arraigned in Superior Court in early April, said Carrie Kimball, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett. Kavanaugh now faces greater penalties in Superior Court. He was originally charged with armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Kavanaugh is well known to police, having been arrested in 2018 on drug charges along with Erika J. Maczuba Benner and Joseph Maxwell “Max” Benner. In 2019, the younger Benner became the fourth man with Delaware connections to be charged with murdering Bradford teen Bryce Finn in the doorway of his Rainbow Drive home. Benner and Kavanaugh were also found by police during an earlier traffic stop with more than 500 Xanax pills, marijuana and THC oils. (See earlier WHAV Investigates article.)
Early this month, Kavanaugh was driving a gray Audi and allegedly ran down 54-year-old Janet Blanchard and her 26-year-old pregnant daughter, Geena Sindoni, who were walking dogs near the Salem, N.H., border. According to police reports, Kavanaugh turned around and struck them again. Salem Police Officer Michael A. Cummings was first on the scene and reported he saw Kavanaugh on top of the unconscious Blanchard, “clenching” her and a box cutter in the woman’s “carotid artery portion of her neck.” WHAV’s policy is to avoid listing victim’s names, but the family has since come forward publicly.
Cummings, who at first did not know whether the man was providing aid, reported Kavanaugh looked at him with a “blank, thousand-mile stare.” He pulled Kavanaugh off, handcuffed him and began providing aid to the woman. Blanchard was first taken to Lawrence General Hospital and then airlifted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with, what were described as, “life-threatening injuries.”
In a hospital interview, police described Kavanaugh as “lethargic” at times, wouldn’t answer questions and said only, “It’s not going to matter.”