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Former Decatur High student convicted of felony murder, sentenced to life

Crime and public safety Decatur

Former Decatur High student convicted of felony murder, sentenced to life

Booking photo for Ben Carpenter.
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Booking photo for Ben Carpenter.

This story will be updated. 

Benjamin Carpenter, 19, a former Decatur High student, has been found guilty of murder and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The DeKalb County District Attorney announced the verdict and sentence on May 9. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years, the District Attorney’s Office said.

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A jury convicted carpenter of felony murder, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Carpenter shot and killed Lucio “Geo” Vasquez, 22, on Aug. 11, 2016 outside of a LaVista Road apartment complex. Carpenter’s accomplice, Christian Hernandez, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and other weapons offenses for his role in the crime, and was sentenced to 30 years. He will serve 25.

The District Attorney says Carpenter shot Vasquez during an attempted robbery involving a drug transaction while in an SUV owned by Vasquez’s girlfriend.

“The two had agreed to meet Defendant Carpenter and two others who had lured him there under the guise of buying drugs from him,” the District Attorney’s announcement says. “The men had actually orchestrated a plan hours earlier to rob the victim and run.

“After arriving at the location, Defendant Carpenter and his accomplice, Christian Hernandez, entered the rear of the victim’s vehicle. When the victim turned to hand over a bag of marijuana, Defendant Carpenter pulled out a gun. The victim struggled to defend himself but was shot twice—once in his side and once in his head—by Defendant Carpenter, who then fled the scene with Hernandez. Both were eventually arrested following a positive identification and DNA evidence linking Carpenter to the scene.”

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