Woman charged with 2 counts of murder

By Janice Gregorson

Two counts of second-degree murder have been filed against an Owatonna woman in connection with the stabbing death of a 28-year-old mother of three outside a Rochester business early Saturday morning.

Monica Marie Jones, 20, was arraigned amid tight security at the Olmsted County courthouse this morning on one count of intentional second-degree murder and one count of unintentional second-degree murder in the death of Ayeisha Cemise Bennett.

Judge Joseph Chase set bail at $750,000. Bennett’s death sets a record for homicides in Rochester. In the past 12 months there have been five homicides in the city.


According to the criminal complaint, police were called to the Windy City Bar and Grille at 1123 Civic Center Drive N.W. about 3 a.m. Saturday regarding a fight and a stabbing.

When officers arrived, they saw several vehicles fleeing the scene and learned from witnesses that one was taking Bennett to the hospital. Shortly after arriving at Saint Marys Hospital, Bennett was pronounced dead from a stab wound to the neck, police said.

Officers found Jones lying in the parking lot. Jones, who turned 20 on Halloween, was incoherent and said she had been assaulted. She was taken to the hospital for her injuries. She was arrested when she was released from the hospital.

The complaint says officers at the scene located and recovered the knife they believe was used in the assault.

Witnesses said they saw Jones and Bennett fighting in the parking lot outside the bar and grill. Jones started swinging a kitchen-style steak knife and stabbed Bennett in the neck, the complaint says. Witnesses pulled Jones and Bennett apart. A group of women took Bennett to their vehicle and two men assaulted Jones. Several witnesses identified Jones as the person who stabbed Bennett.

Jones acknowledged fighting with Bennett and said she was waving the knife to scare Bennett and get her to back away, according to the complaint. Jones’ public defender said she has lived in Owatonna for five years and has worked at Kids Corner.

Her next court appearance is Nov. 20.

Page A4: Homicide record set

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