The prosecution of Anthony Benardello, a former Concord High School teacher, began Tuesday, claiming he wanted "three individuals whacked." Benardello
was arrested last April and charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, two counts of soliciting to commit first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit a shooting into an occupied property and two counts of soliciting to commit a shooting into an occupied property.He
is currently in Cabarrus County Jail on $1 million bond. Benardello
was arrested after Cabarrus County Sheriff's Department Det.Derek Waller posed as a hitman in April and said Benardello
hired him to shoot Wesley Russell, Russell's mother Peggy Russell and aunt Luane Linker.
Waller testified that Benardello
wanted him to fire shots into Wesley Russell's and Linker's homes, and ensure that Wesley Russell was dead.
Evidence Roxann Vaneekhoven, Cabarrus County district attorney, entered in Tuesday's trial included video and audio surveillance tapes, transcripts of the undercover operation and a piece of paper that Waller said Benardello
wrote his cell phone number on.
The investigation began when Shawn Llewellyn, an acquaintance of Benardello
, tipped off law enforcement.
...Benardello's court appointed attorney James Foster said Llewellyn and another acquaintance, Jonathan Shrack, conspired against Benardello.
Wesley Russell also stated that Benardello
carried a gun during all their meetings.
Waller discussed how Benardello
told him how to modify the gun to make it harder to link the weapon to the crime.
spoke about the trial during a recess.
"Did you see how they (the Russells and Linker) were mumbling?"he
asked."They weren't very convincing.They couldn't even look at me because they weren't telling the truth." Benardello
"I never threatened anybody," he
said."Especially a woman."
At the end of Tuesday's proceedings, the jury watched a video of Waller meeting with Benardello
, according to prosecutors.
Today's proceedings will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Vaneekhoven said she
expected the trial to be over within three days.
• Contact Michael Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call at (704) 789-9144.
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