Tourist Murder Fugitive Captured in Jamaica

A man wanted in connection with the murder of a German tourist near a Santa Monica seaside hotel in 1998 has been arrested in Jamaica, authorities said Thursday.

Paul Carpenter, 31, was captured Wednesday in the Caribbean nation where he lived under a false identity and worked at a BMW car dealership in Kingston, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. He was expected to be returned to California by the FBI on Friday.

Carpenter had eluded authorities for more than 10 years and was the last outstanding suspect in the murder of Horst Fietze, 50, of Lobau, Germany. Fietze and his wife were confronted by two men and a woman on the night of Oct. 12, 1998, as they and some friends walked near a hotel in Santa Monica.

Fietze apparently could not understand the robbers' demands and was shot when he refused to hand over a bag. As Fietze lay dying, the three ran back to the car and fled without taking anything, police said. No one else was hurt.

A hotel security camera recorded the crime on videotape and police matched fingerprints found in the car to two of the suspects.

In a non-jury trial in 2001, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lance Ito convicted three people of murder and other crimes for their roles in the killing.

The gunman, Lamont Dion Santos, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.


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Roshana Latiesha Roberts, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. Tyrina Lakeisha Griffin, also was convicted of second-degree murder and given 16 years to life.

All three defendants were also convicted of attempted murder and attempted robbery.

Prosecutors said Roberts was the getaway car drive while Santos, Griffin and Carpenter confronted the victims.

Roberts and Griffin, whose fingerprints were on the car, were arrested in December 1998. Santos was arrested in January 1999 in South Carolina.

Carpenter remained at large, and in 2007 the FBI sought public help in solving the cold case, noting that he used 11 aliases and four birth dates, may have traveled to San Diego and South Carolina and might be living abroad.

The FBI found Carpenter living in Jamaica after receiving an anonymous tip. The person who gave the information will be eligible for a $20,000 reward, authorities said.

FBI agents believe Carpenter fled to Jamaica soon after the crime and was living among a circle of friends. He also had a 3-year-old child.

Carpenter was charged a decade ago with one count of murder and three counts of attempted robbery, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

California law allows murder charges to be filed against anyone involved in a crime that results in a death.

Fietze's murder was the first of seven killings in a six-week span that shattered the feeling of security in Santa Monica. Four of the killings were gang-related, police said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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