Details of Lake Monticello homicide emerge at bond hearing

By Heather Michon, correspondent

The first details of events leading up to the shooting death of a man at Lake Monticello emerged during back-to-back bond hearings at Fluvanna County District Court on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

Fluvanna County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeffrey Haislip told Judge Theresa Carter that their evidence indicated that Joshua Bentham-Ball, 44, and Jason J. Farren, 36, approached a home on Axle Tree Road at Lake Monticello after dark the night of Oct. 29 to “check on” a girl who lived at that address with her mother.

The girl’s mother was working a night shift, but the mother’s companion, Benjamin Camp, 37, was staying there overnight.

Bentham-Ball was allegedly carrying a “very large stick” that Camp later said looked like a bat, Haislip said.

Camp’s attorney, Lloyd Snook, told Carter that his client awakened to find the two men already in the home. After a struggle, Camp got both of them out of the house and called 911 to report that “two guys just tried to jump me.”

While still on the line with a dispatcher, Camp said that the men had reentered through a side door. Haislip said the 911 recording picked up sounds of shouting, scuffling, and finally, gunshots.

Police arrived to find Farren had been shot three times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Camp explained to the judge that he believed both men had weapons: Bentham-Ball with the stick and Farren with “an ax handle or something with a blade.” At the time of the shooting, Bentham-Ball was crouched behind Farren and “they both were coming at me.”

Bentham-Ball fled the scene, dropping the stick as he left.


Camp  said he had known Bentham-Ball for about a year and a half and had seen Farren, although he said they had no prior dealings.

During his bond hearing, Bentham-Ball’s attorney argued that his client, a sous chef, was the sole breadwinner for his wife and child. They had been living with Bentham-Ball’s parents at Lake Monticello for over a year before the shooting. Bentham-Ball’s father told Judge Carter “we’ll do whatever the court orders” if his son were released to his home.

Haislip argued that Bentham-Ball had a long record of skipping out on court-mandated supervision meetings stemming from previous run-ins with the law.

Carter denied bail, saying she was “concerned that he doesn’t have a good track record” on following the rules.

Camp’s case was much more difficult to decide.

Snook argued that this “was a very clear case of self-defense,” and Haislip himself said there was a “compelling” argument for self-defense. He added that Camp had “been very open with the police” during the investigation.

Both Camp’s adoptive parents and his birth mother spoke to the judge on his behalf. “We have a community of people here to support Ben,” she said, as about a half-dozen people stood up.

She described her son, a longtime DJ and board member at WVAI 101.3 in Charlottesville, as “an honest, authentic individual.”

Carter said she found this to be “a very unfortunate situation,” and that generally, given his minimal criminal record “the court would lean heavily toward bail.” But the gravity of the charge and the use of a weapon gave her pause.

“It’s a close call,” she said. “I’m here wrestling with this.”

In the end, she decided against bail. However, she told Camp the court would be willing to hear arguments again at his next court date.

Both men are currently set to return on Jan. 21, Bentham-Ball for a preliminary hearing and Camp for a status update. They will remain at Central Virginia Regional Jail until that time.


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