Attorney Gerald Benyo (left), Attorney Ted Knafelc / submitted photos

Attorney Gerald Benyo has announced he will not be a candidate for Beaver County district attorney in next year’s county elections.

Benyo had been a candidate for district attorney in 2015, but was defeated in the Republican primary by David Lozier. Lozier went on to win the general election against Democratic challenger Frank Martocci.

Attorney Benyo changed his party to Democrat earlier this year, and in March began floating the possibility of running for district attorney again in 2019, with supporters making public statements on his behalf. Democrat Ted Knafelc announced his intentions to run for the office in a letter sent to BeaverCountian.com in August.

Lozier is expected to seek reelection on the Republican ticket.

So far, no other attorneys from either party have reached out to politicos to begin exploring a possible run. Benyo’s decision against launching a candidacy could see both Knafelc and Lozier going unchallenged in the primaries, paving the way for what would likely be a greatly contested 2019 general election.

Attorney Benyo sent a letter to BeaverCountian.com laying out what he believes are the problems and challenges facing the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office, and making clear he will not be seeking the seat.

Read Gerald Benyo’s Letter In Full As Written For Publication By The Attorney:

Dear John Paul:

Beaver County will elect a District Attorney in November 2019. The position of District Attorney carries with it great responsibly and requires a commitment to dedicate oneself to upholding the criminal laws of the Commonwealth while at the same time protecting the Constitutional Rights of all citizens. A candidate for District Attorney should not be cultivating “close friends” to help themselves get elected as those “close friends” will expect favors that justice should not permit after the election. Nor should any candidate for District Attorney ally themselves with politicians who may be in elected positions that require present or future investigation. A candidate for District Attorney should have extensive criminal trial experience and have participated as lead counsel in hundreds of criminal hearings before the Court.

The candidate for District Attorney should commit to becoming a formidable and vocal force against corruption and self-dealing by those wielding political influence and power in the county. It is not only the “crime in the streets” that hurts the average citizen, but also the venal and unprincipled actions of elected officials and their confidants who enrich themselves, their friends and their families at the expense of every taxpayer and citizen each time a county job or contract is awarded based upon cronyism and not merit.

Beaver County needs a District Attorney who will not only prosecute average people who commit crimes but will also actively and forcefully investigate and prosecute county corruption and misdeeds by elected representatives and demand severe penalties to deter others from violating the public trust. There are to many instances in Beaver County where those who have spoken out and identified improper conduct and corruption have not been commended for their honesty and courage, but instead punished by those who wield political power and have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

It is also time that a District Attorney identifies those individuals in our communities who engage in repeated criminal conduct as a way of life and economic income. These individuals must be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions by requesting significant incarceration. At the same time a District Attorney must be able to identify people with mental health and addiction problems who demonstrate an actual desire not just to avoid criminal sanction, but to actually change their lives.

Addiction is not an excuse that should enable anyone to avoid responsibly for the harm caused by their criminal acts, and repeated criminal acts by individuals due to their addiction who only give insincere promises of change to avoid sanctions and responsibility for their crimes must no longer be permitted. Drug use is now comparable to playing Russian Roulette and offering politically safe platitudes and promises does not save lives, it only permits a serious societal problem to persist and continue to cause misery in untold numbers of families.

Beaver County also needs a District Attorney who understands that the perception and role of law enforcement has significantly changed from a decade ago. The next District Attorney needs to understand how society has changed its overall positive view of law enforcement and now accepts widespread and undeserved criticism of police action based upon false facts or isolated incidents. It is my hope the members of law enforcement in Beaver County speak out loudly and with a firm voice in the upcoming election about the problems they face on a daily basis inside and outside of the courthouse as these men and women are on the front line of maintaining order in our society and combating crime.

The next District Attorney must also address inefficiencies, injustices and inequities in our local criminal system and the District Attorney’s Office. Having most of your assistant district attorneys waiting in the same courtroom for their cases to be called one-by-one for hours at a time significantly reduces available time for trial preparation and thus negatively effects criminal prosecutions. The practice of allowing the court administrator to call major criminal cases for Jury Trial with less than a 24-hour notice must end. Permitting a Central Court schedule that often eliminates most if not all of a police force from a community for half a day every week is dangerous and must also end.

The upcoming budget crisis looming in Beaver County will also require the next District Attorney to prosecute more cases with less resources and critical decisions must be made about the function and future of the Beaver County Detective Bureau. Funding law enforcement by pursuing forfeitures of citizen’s property is also a dangerous practice that must be reviewed and considered moving forward – particularly when no public accounting of seized property is regularly provided by the District Attorney’s Office.

The voters of Beaver County have an important job to do in November 2019 in electing their county officials. The application of partisan politics on national issues into county elections and maintaining party alliances based upon decades old outdated political stereotypes will fail to improve the quality of life in Beaver County.

Beaver County faces significant and unique local issues that must be addressed by experienced and dedicated individuals who put their own interests, party politics and cronyism aside for the good of the citizens of Beaver County. Candidates for public office must also know that they will be held accountable for their actions not only by forgetful voters every four years, but by the District Attorney’s Office if illegal conduct occurs.

I am providing you with this letter not to announce my candidacy for District Attorney, but to provide my thoughts and views as an experienced criminal trial attorney, taxpayer, business owner and citizen of Beaver County as to what I believe the voters of Beaver County should consider in electing a District Attorney.

I have read and appreciated the repeated references by commenters of the BeaverCountian as to my becoming the next District Attorney. While I would welcome the challenge that being District Attorney would provide and am certain that I have the experience and fortitude to make positive change in Beaver County, at this time I cannot commit the time, energy and resources that being a serious candidate for District Attorney demands – particularly in view of my heartfelt beliefs stated above and the hostility that my views would generate from those who wish to maintain the status quo.

To allow my name to continue to be considered as a candidate will only serve as a distraction from voters evaluating the actual experience, qualities and positions of those candidates who will face off against each other in May and November. At this time, the best manner in which I can attempt to improve the criminal justice system in Beaver County and continue to protect the Constitutional Rights of citizens is from outside and not inside the District Attorney’s Office.

Sincerely,
Gerald V. Benyo, Jr., Esq.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Accordingtome
Member
Accordingtome

So now this leaves the residents of Beaver County only two options for DA, one who is corrupt and has never tried a criminal case and one that has never tried a criminal case and has yet to become a partner in his firm because he hasn’t proven himself capable yet.

Let’s just make it a trifecta of shitty options and pretend that the midget just received his JD degree and admission to the bar.

C’mon, Jerry, you see what’s going on around here…. There’s still plenty of time to rethink this. Otherwise things have nowhere to go but further downhill and we’ve been living in Rock Bottom Hollow for way too a long.

ricimer
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ricimer

Beaver County cant trust law enforcement cant trust the DA definetly cant trust the politicians in office now . Looks like Beaver County is taking its last breath.Being optimistic and living here is pretty much impossible.

Unbungabelievable
Guest
Unbungabelievable

Sadly true. Maybe a handful amongst the lot, but that is it. Love it when they try to sing the blues and people fall for it. Jusy UGH.

Truthful
Guest
Truthful

It’s pretty obvious what NEEDS to happen.

JP needs to run for County Commissioner.

Simple and effective.

Disgruntled
Member
Disgruntled

I think Jerry is making the right move. The establishment will never let him win, and they will destroy his reputation along the way just for good measure. He had to get out of the way to save his career. To be honest, I don’t blame him one bit.

Disgruntled
Member
Disgruntled

After the next election, the Board of Commissioners will be Amadio (chair), Spanik, and Camp. Either Lozier or Knafelc (doesn’t really matter, neither of them are qualified or will do what needs to be done) will be DA. Tony Guy will be Sheriff again. Connie’s underling will be Treasurer. Askar will be the solicitor. They’ll probably bring LaValle in as Chief of Staff.
Looks pretty grim. There is not one person on this list with any integrity. Yet they all have each other’s support, and a whole lot of dirty money at their disposal. Checkmate.

And where are all of these ‘investigations’ we’ve heard so much about over the last three years? Are the FBI, SEC, State Police, PA Courts, Gaming Commission, and however many Grand Juries really that impotent that they can’t put together a salient case against ANY these people? Friendship Ridge? The casino dealings? Fusion and every other pension fund transaction? How many Sunshine Act violations? Nothing? Really? All anyone needed to do was follow the money on any ONE of these to pull the thread that would have unraveled the entire ball of string. Yet here we are. It’s like a bad dream that won’t ever end.

Five-O
Guest
Five-O

Nothing will never come out of any investigation. They are all in bed with each other, right up to and including Wolfe. Veon is not back in the picture for his health, he is silently running things behind the scene. Birds of feather flock together. I do believe that JP is doing this for a living, because even he has to know at this point it has all been in vain.

Mileage may vary
Guest
Mileage may vary

Disgruntled, your look into the future is realistic and alarming. It could have been different. Rather than grovel with Mr. Benyo, voters focus would be better served asking Commissioner Egley to reconsider her decision not to seek reelection.

Disgruntled
Member
Disgruntled

@Mileage, with all due respect to Commissioner Egley, they have already made it clear how easy it is to cut her out of everything. Commissioners are only one of three on a board, so if the other two are of like mind, the odd one out is powerless. Look how easy it was for them to pull the chair out from under her.

A strong DA is the one and only elected official that could rip the corruption to shreds. But alas, that’s not going to happen.

Uncle Wah Wah
Guest
Uncle Wah Wah

Why ? Can’t we find somebody else to bitch and complain about being kept out of the loop? Egley hasn’t done squat, either, and when she announced she was a lame duck, that cemented her status as a non-entity. She’s got hero status on here, but not much of a resume to justify that.

Unbungabelievable
Guest
Unbungabelievable

All of what you said is very much correct. Now, think about how FAR the corruption of Beaver County stretches… Like I have pointed out before, it goes way beyond our brainless immoral local yocals. I want to be irritated with Attorney Benyo for his decision but would be hypocritical because my family has had to concede just the same – made to look like fools – just to keep from being destroyed and killed. Truly am hoping to get us all out of Beaver County AND pennsylvania very soon.

Raven
Member
Raven

Just say no, Gerry. If you want to give a stump speech, sign up like the rest of the candidates and face the crowds. I appreciate your commenting here, and we learn much from your insights, but this has an aura of “Methinks thou dost protest too much.” If you want real change, you will have to get your own hands a little dirty too, and wrestle with the pigs in their own mud, and not just be a referee. Thanks, though.

Raven
Member
Raven

By the way, to bow out, it’s a good idea to bow in first.

Accordingtome
Member
Accordingtome

There’s an old saying that reinforces this….if you want me around when the plane crashes you need to have me around when it takes off. Get on the damn plane, Mr. Benyo.

Walk
Member
Walk

Lozier did it, and look at that buffoon.
Mr. Benyo has written the perfect speech for the next District Attorney. Candidates will only have to precede Mr. Benyo’s qualification list with the words, “AS YOUR NEXT DISTRICT ATTORNEY I WILL.”

Uncle Wah Wah
Guest
Uncle Wah Wah

That’s alright. We can solve all the county’s problems on here. HAHAHA

I don’t blame Benyo. I wouldn’t ever consider to get in politics at any level in this county. If you aren’t a golf buddy, an old high school teammate, a Catholic, a social club member… you aren’t anything. I saw enough of it at a regular job; I can only imagine what it’s like looking for public support and votes.