LAX — A fugitive who was recently arrested in Jamaica in connection to the murder of a German tourist in Santa Monica more than a decade ago was expected to arrive here Friday evening before being turned over to local authorities.
Paul Carpenter, who is said to be in his 30s, was detained Wednesday by the Jamaican Constabulary Force in Kingston where he was working at a BMW dealership. He was the last remaining suspect in the 1998 shooting death of Horst Fietze, who was visiting the United States when approached by Carpenter, his girlfriend and two individuals attempting to rob the tourist, who himself was hanging out with a group of friends at the time near the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.
Fietze, 50, of Lobau, was shot when he had trouble understanding the robbers, who fled empty handed.
While three of the suspects have since been convicted, Carpenter had managed to elude authorities for more than 10 years, possibly traveling within the United States before leaving the country.
Carpenter, who is believed to have fathered a child in Jamaica, was discovered after the FBI received a tip about his whereabouts, living under the name Jermaine Thomas.
“He was on his way to work and was removed from an employee shuttle bus by local authorities with the Jamaican Constabulary Force,” Laura Eimiller, the spokeswoman for the FBI, said.
Carpenter had been working as a driver for several years and was among the employees transferred to Stewart Motors when it took over the business in 2006, said Jackie Stewart Lechler, the director of the dealership in Jamaica.
“Thomas has worked with us since as a driver and was quite a hard-working employee who never gave any indication to us or his fellow employees that he was anyone other than who we thought he was,” she said. “This development is something that none of us could have foreseen, as we accepted the transferred employee in good faith, having had no reason to question whether he was worthy of being employed by us.”
The suspect has been deported by Jamaican authorities and was scheduled to arrive at LAX under the escort of an FBI agent and Los Angeles Police Department officer assigned to the FBI Fugitive Task Force. He was charged more than 10 years ago with murder and attempted robbery. He has also been federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, though it is expected to be dismissed when he is turned over to the Santa Monica Police Department and prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Eimiller said.
He is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.
After Fietze’ murder on Oct. 12, 1998, SMPD detectives spent several months identifying all four suspects, arresting one in Oklahoma and another in South Carolina.
Lamont Dion Santos, the gunman, has been sentenced to 35 years to life in prison and Roshana Latiesha Roberts, who was the getaway driver, was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. Tyrina Lakeisha Griffin, also an accomplice, was sentenced to 16 years to life.
Investigators had long ago concluded that Carpenter had fled the country. The FBI in 2007 announced a $20,000 award for information leading to the suspect’s capture.
His arrest involved cooperation by the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force in Los Angeles, the United States Marshal Service based in Kingston, Jamaica, the Jamaican Constabulory Force, the FBI’s Legal Attache in Santo Domingo in the Domincan Republic, and detectives with the Santa Monica Police Department.
“It’s rewarding to know that our efforts weren’t futile,” Lt. Ray Cooper with the SMPD said. “It’s rewarding to know that the final piece of the puzzle, the final suspect, is soon to be in our custody.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.