A Colorado teen was sentenced to life in prison for brutally murdering a Denver chef and then posting about it on Facebook.
“At some point you knew it was wrong to go out there with a gun … No one else made that choice," said Arapahoe District Court Judge Andrew Baum as he sentenced Raheem Benson on Friday for the fatal 2016 attack, according to a statement by the local district attorney's office.
“Benson murdered for the mere thrill of killing another person. At any age, this can only be described as evil,” said District Attorney George Brauchler in the statement. “Colorado’s system is now set up to ensure that this cold-blooded murderer will again walk our streets, likely as early as in his 40s. We can only hope that his heart is turned away from darkness in the couple of decades he is incarcerated and we are safe from him.”
Benson, who is now 18, was convicted in March of first-degree felony murder, second-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery in connection with Lewis’ killing. He will be eligible for parole in 40 years.
In a random attack, Benson and a second teen shot and killed Nicholas Lewis while he was walking home from work, said prosecutors. The 33-year-old victim was a chef at the Blackbird Public House in Denver and lived in nearby Englewood.
Police found Lewis with several gunshot wounds in his chest, and he was pronounced dead at nearby Swedish Medical Center, according to the district attorney.
Investigators used the description of a car leaving the scene to track down Benson and Louis Lara-Macias, and arrested them for operating the stolen vehicle.
Lara-Marcias, 17, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December and was sentenced to 21 years in jail. His sentence will be suspended after successfully completing seven years in the Colorado Department of Corrections’ youth offender system.
After killing Lewis, Benson and Lara-Macias both posted pictures of the crime to Facebook, according to reporting by the Denver Post.
Lewis’ family attended the sentencing on Friday, imploring the judge to give Benson the maximum sentence. According to the prosecutors, Benson was the one who pulled the trigger that killed Lewis.
“This murder was a concerted choice made by two evil men on a crime spree,” Lewis’ mother told the court during sentencing. “Nick was shot 3 times execution style – and all for what?”
[Photos: Arapahoe County District Attorney]