|Fugitive Convicted in 1998 German Tourist Murder
By Gene Williams
October 26, 2011 -- After eluding justice for eleven years, a fourth and final suspect has been convicted in the highly-publicized killing of a German tourist in Santa Monica.
The two-week murder trial of Paul Edmond Carpenter, 31, ended in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday, where a jury found Carpenter guilty in the 1998 shooting of Horst Fietze near Loews Hotel.
Fietze, 50, was with his wife and another couple during the botched robbery that ended with his death.
Carpenter is scheduled for sentencing November 30 for one count of murder and three counts of attempted robbery.
Although he was only 20 at the time and did not pull the trigger, Carpenter could face the death penalty under California law.
Shortly after the crime, Carpenter fled to Jamaica where he reportedly fathered a son and worked in an auto dealership until a tipster led police to his arrest in 2009.
The other three suspects were convicted seven years ago following a five-day non-jury trial.
A language barrier underscores the tragedy of the crime.
On October 12, 1998, Fietze – a German national who did not speak or understand English well – was walking back to his hotel from the beach with his wife and two friends when the assailants descended on them, demanding their money.
Fietze was shot after failing to understand the robber’s demands.
Carpenter was charged in 1999 with one count of murder and three counts of attempted robbery.
He avoided arrest by fleeing the country and assuming numerous false identities until law enforcement caught up with him two years ago.
As a fugitive, Carpenter worked at a BMW dealership in Kingston, Jamaica, where management and coworkers reportedly described him as a likable, mild-mannered employee.
A tipster received a $20,000 reward for leading federal agents to the elusive suspect, who was featured several times on the television show "America's Most Wanted."
Carpenter’s accomplices were apprehended shortly after the crime and are already serving sentences.
Lamont Dion Santos, the gunman, was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.
Roshana Latiesha Roberts, the getaway driver, was sentenced to 13 years and four months.
Tyrina Lakeisha Griffin, who was supposedly Carpenter’s girlfriend, was sentenced to 16 years to life for serving as an accomplice.
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