A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murdering the 40-year-old Jersey City photographer who was found beaten to death in his home late last month after a welfare check, Hudson County prosecutors announced Friday.
The teenager has been charged as a juvenile, so his name has not been released. In addition to the murder charge, he's accused of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in Benjamin Stone's death.
Stone was a well-known commercial photographer who had just moved to the city, and the 40-year-old had a close-knit group of friends. Over a week ago, one of those friends said he stopped answering texts and phone calls, leading them to call the police to do a wellness visit.
Officers who went to Stone's home around 1:30 a.m. April 27 found him dead. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be multiple blunt force trauma to the torso and the manner of death to be a homicide.
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The teenager was apprehended Thursday, though further details on the boy's relationship to Stone, if there was any prior to the killing, aren't known at this time. Prosecutors haven't speculated publicly on a possible motive, either.
For Stone's friends and loved ones, that makes it all the more difficult to cope with his death.
"Very shocked He is a well-loved, amazing person. He's probably one of the best photographers I've ever met," said friend Michael Barbieri, who said Stone had done work for Ralph Lauren and Vogue. "We don't know of any disputes, we don't know of any confrontations he's had with people."
Another friend, Nathan Sayers, described Stone as a "careful person. I don't think he was careless. I don't understand how someone like Ben could die in such a violent way, I really can't explain that."