No bail for Alpharetta man charged with murder by heroin

A Fulton County judge denied bond Thursday for an Alpharetta man accused of murdering a woman, Chelsea Bennett, because he injected her with heroin.

Superior Court Jerry Baxter told Cory Ben-Hanania,over the objections of his friends and family who packed the courtroom, the safest place for him was jail until his trial.

Channel 2 Action News also reported that the 20-year-old victim’s friends and family came to lobby for him to remain in jail.

Chelsea Bennett’s mother told the judge: “She had a right to live. She had a right to pursue her dreams, your honor,” Rita Bennett told the judge, the news station reported.

Police reported last week that the Johns Creek woman died when partying with Ben-Hanania and another friend in March with extra pure heroin. On July 15 a Fulton grand jury indicted Ben-Hanania and Kevin McCaffrey, a Marietta man accused of selling the heroin, for murder.

A third man, Sebastian Andrade is charged with concealing a death.

Ben-Hanania and Andrade, both 20, didn’t call for paramedics when Bennett overdosed but instead called McCaffrey who told them to take Bennett to an emergency room, police said.

Instead the two men didn’t call medical attention, which was summoned when Ben-Hanania’s brother found the unconscious Bennett 10 hours later in the family home.

Prosecutors told the judge that the young men coerced Bennett into taking the drug, the news station reported, although police acknowledged that Bennett had a history of illicit drug use.

Defense attorney Brian Steele argued that Ben-Hanania had traveled to Israel but returned even though he knew he was under investigation as evidence he wasn’t a flight risk. He suggested prosecutors were turning a tragedy into a murder.

The judge made no decision about bond for Andrade, whose charge is a more minor felony.

Ben-Hanania’s father apologized to the Bennett family.

“My heart bleeds for you. I loved Chelsea,” Robert Ben-Hanania said.

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