News Articles


From award to murder


Rescued by project targeting at-risk youth, man now sought in probe
Last Updated: 3rd October 2008, 2:57am
Two years after Mayor David Miller praised him for pulling his life out of the gutter, Junior Mark Anthony Bennett is wanted in a murder investigation.
With a grin painted across his face, the 22-year-old Toronto father of two held Miller’s hand as the mayor lauded his achievements in May 2006.
Bennett had graduated from a 10-week pre-apprenticeship program at the Carpenters’ Union Local 27 training centre, a project honoured by the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards.
But now his picture is in the paper for a different reason: Police in Peel Region want the now 24-year-old Bennett — formerly of Toronto, now of “no fixed address” — for charges of obstructing police and firearm-related offences after the slaying of 28-year-old Orrin Marlon Earle, who took a bullet to the face in a Malton apartment on June 30.
The murder, Peel’s 14th of the year, happened on Darcel Ave., in the Derry Rd.-Hwy. 427 area.
“It’s the best feeling you can have,” Bennett said in 2006 as one of just 12 graduates from the program, which targeted at-risk youth who had bounced from school to school before dropping out.
“When you’re not used to having someone putting a hand out there, it’s up to you to take it.”
The father of two girls, ages 1 and 4 at the time, finished high school and prepared to start carpentry school that fall.
“If my daughters weren’t in my life, I don’t know where I’d be,” Bennett said then. “This is really big for me.
“I never felt so proud of myself.”
Bennett told the Jamaican Gleaner he had been fed up with working in factories when he took his resume to the YMCA for help and was picked for the pre-apprenticeship program.
He credited the experience of working with so many people for developing his communication skills.
“This program has given me real world experience,” Bennett told the Gleaner, adding he was following in the footsteps of Ucal Powell, a Jamaica native who has since become president of the Carpenters’ Union.
“Since I started, I’ve received respect from my family, my peers and older members of my community.”
Anyone with information about Bennett’s whereabouts is asked to contact police at 905-453-3311 ext. 3205, or Crime Stoppers.