Home invasion case in court
NEW MILFORD — It was around 11 p.m. on an unusually warm evening in June when a woman staying with her boyfriend on Bridle Lane decided to go on the back porch and relax with a cigarette.
But when she flipped on the light switch, standing in front of her was a man clad in black with a ski mask covering his face, court documents state.
The woman began to scream, but the man, who had a roll of duct tape around his wrist, forced his way through the screen door and into the house, according to the document. Despite the disguise, she quickly realized the intruder was her ex-boyfriend, Mark Benoit, who was angry about her new relationship.
Benoit began fighting with the woman’s new boyfriend, who wrestled him to the ground and pinned him against a table in the living room, court records show. When police arrived, Benoit became combative again, refusing to comply with officers’ requests to raise his hands.
When one of the officers punched Benoit in the stomach, a black-handled knife slid down his legs from behind his back, court documents show. Police found rope and zip ties on him.
Not until officers ordered a K-9 to attack did Benoit finally submit and allow officers to place him in handcuffs. He later told police that he had taken “a lot” of Klonopin washed down with beer before leaving his home in Bethel.
Police did not identify the woman or her new boyfriend.
Benoit, who briefly appeared Tuesday in state Superior Court in Litchfield, pleaded not guilty to several charges, including home invasion, stalking, third-degree assault and interfering with a police officer.
Attorney Susan Filan, who represents Benoit, said during his arraignment earlier this month that her client has a history of substance abuse that had been under control until a recent relapse. She said the home invasion was out of character for Benoit and blamed it on the cocktail of alcohol and Klonopin, a drug typically used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
A judge at the time of the arraignment refused to reduce Benoit’s $300,000 bond, citing the terrifying nature of the assault. But court officials agreed Tuesday to hold a bond reduction hearing on July 5.