In 1996, a California woman named Jade Benning called 911 to say that a Black man had forced his way into a Santa Ana apartment and stabbed her boyfriend, Christopher Hervey.
When police arrived, according to media reports at the time, Benning told cops that she woke up at 3 a.m. to find her 22-year-old partner struggling with the intruder. She said she tried to save him but was slashed in the hand.
Hervey, who had several knife wounds in his torso, died at the hospital. Detectives told reporters that the homicide was likely a burglary gone tragically wrong—and no one was ever arrested.
But 26 years later, authorities are telling a very different story about the cold case.
Benning, who left California for Las Vegas and then moved to Texas after Hervey’s death, has now been charged with killing him.
According to a statement this week from Santa Ana police, investigators “worked diligently” to find Hervey’s killer in 1996 but never cracked it.
Then, in January 2020, police received an anonymous letter fingering Benning as the killer, and the case was re-opened. After new forensic testing was conducted, detectives had enough evidence to charge her. The 48-year-old, who owns a vintage clothing business, was arrested in Austin.
Santa Ana police did not say what evidence led them to charge Benning, who now faces extradition to California.