Prosecutor says death of Brooke Bennett was a homicide

07/08/08 6:06AM

A prosecutor says the 12-year-old girl found dead last week near her uncle's home in Randolph was killed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan made the disclosure at a hearing yesterday at which the judge ordered the uncle, Michael Jacques, held until his trial on a federal kidnapping charge.

The 42-year-old Jacques is accused of kidnapping Brooke Bennett of Braintree on June 25, after using fictitious e-mail identities to help orchestrate her abduction.

After a weeklong search, she was found in a shallow grave about a mile from his home.

Because the girl was killed, prosecutors could seek the death penalty against Jacques if he is convicted.

Earlier yesterday, Brooke's former stepfather, 40-year-old Raymond Gagnon, who is accused of obstruction of justice related to the case, also did not contest his continued detention.

Gagnon of San Antonio, Texas, is accused of having someone throw out his laptop computer a week ago while authorities were searching for Brooke.

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