Man accused of killing college counselor indicted by grand jury

Man accused of killing college counselor indicted by grand jury
Mathew Benner, 28. (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Mathew Benner, 28. (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Amanda Strous, 27. (Photo provided to WBTV)
Amanda Strous, 27. (Photo provided to WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The man accused of killing a Charlotte-area college counselor was indicted on murder charges by a Mecklenburg County grand jury Monday.

Authorities say 28-year-old Mathew Benner confessed to the murder of 27-year-old Amanda Strous, whose southwest Charlotte apartment was intentionally set on fire. He was booked in the Mecklenburg County jail, nearly two weeks after he was arrested in Nevada.

According to a police source, Benner tied Strous up before setting her apartment on fire.

Benner was arrested in Strous' killing in Nye County, Nevada. Police worked to extradite Benner back to Charlotte, to charge him with murder and first-degree arson. He was brought back to Charlotte last week.

A grand jury met Monday and turned in two true bills of indictment against Benner, one for murder, the other for arson. He is slated to be in a Mecklenburg County courtroom Wednesday morning on the charges.

Firefighters were called to the fire at Strous' apartment June 18 on Toscana Way. Benner lived in the same apartment complex as Strous in the Steele Creek area of Charlotte.

The Charlotte Fire Department said they were able to remove Strous from the burning apartment. She went to Carolinas Medical Center-Steele Creek, but died from her injuries.

Benner was arrested in Nevada and charged with killing Strous two days later.

Officials said Benner was found sleeping in his truck at a Best Western hotel. According to a release from the Nye County Sheriff's Office, an "interview was conducted and confession obtained from Benner."

Strous was a student counselor at Central Piedmont Community College. She had been employed at CPCC for about six months. Strous was also engaged to be married later this month.

The FAA says Benner was a contractor in the training department of the FAA air traffic control tower at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. His access to the airport has since been revoked. Benner was not an air traffic controller.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective.  Detective Grosse is the lead detective assigned to the case.

The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website at

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