Police: Man's death murder, not suicide

Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:10:14 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 03 2013 06:50:57 PM EDT

VIDEO: Homicides scattered all over the Jacksonville area over Labor Day weekend.


Hours after police began investigating what they thought was a suicide on Monday in Northwest Jacksonville, they determined the 50-year-old man was killed.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has identified the victim as Benjamin Craft, who was found dead inside a vacant home on Barth Road, just off U.S. 1 just north of Interstate 295.

Police said Craft had been staying at the home for the past few months in exchange for construction work.

"He was remodeling in the house and stuff and fixing it up," said Danny Sears, Craft's uncle.

Sears said his nephew was living in this Dinsmore home as he renovated it when someone went in Monday and shot him to death.

"Friendly guy, do anything for you," Sears said. "Just outgoing and would pretty much mind his business. And I'm pretty much going to lose a great friend."

Investigators did not release any other information, including how Craft was killed.

The killing is the fifth homicide in Jacksonville in as many days, 25th in the last two months and 77th this year.

"There are no connections right now. It was just a violent, turbulent weekend, and the last two months have been that way," said JSO Lt. Rob Schoonover. "It's always important to know that we reach out to the community, and we need their help in solving these. If they have information to help us, please call Crime Stoppers or call us directly."

Anyone who has any information about Craft's killing is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $5,000 for this case, contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.


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