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Opening Statements Made in Murder Trial of Benjamin Cayea

The murder trial of Benjamin Cayea began Friday morning, with both sides presenting their opening statements at the Tompkins County Courthouse. The 33-year-old Cayea is accused of strangling his girlfriend Shannon Jones ’15 on Thanksgiving last year, and was indicted on charges of murder in the second degree in December. After Judge Joseph Cassidy, the judge presiding over the trial, reminded the jury — comprised of eight men and four women — that opening statements are not testimony and should not be considered as evidence, Assistant District Attorney for Tompkins County Diane Lama opened for the prosecution. “‘I lost my shit, and I killed my girlfriend.’ Those were the words of the defendant Benjamin Cayea on Nov. 27, 2014, just several hours after he strangled and suffocated 23-year-old Shannon Jones to death,” she said.

(Brittney Chew / Sun News Photography Editor)

Garrett: Cornell Committed to Consent Education

President Elizabeth Garrett responded to a report on campus sexual assault climate issued by the Association of American Universities in an email sent to the Cornell community Monday morning. The results of the survey, which students at Cornell have access to, demonstrate what is being increasingly recognized across the country — that sexual assault is a national problem, according to Garrett’s statement. Sexual violence affects entire communities, Garrett wrote. However, she added that college environments are distinct in their ability to impact student perspectives on sexual violence. “Although parents, secondary schools and criminal justice and other public officials must play a significant role, colleges and universities are in a unique position to address sexual violence on our campuses and to affect the attitudes and behaviors of our students,” she wrote.