2 sentenced to life in prison for armed robbery and murder of suspected drug trafficker

Two men from Charlotte, North Carolina, will spend the rest of their lives behind bars for the 2014 armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder of a suspected drug dealer, the Justice Department announced last week.

In September 2016, a federal jury convicted Carlos Antoine Benson, 37, and Jacob Ivan Hill, 36, of nine charges stemming from the robbery and murder. Benson was handed two consecutive life sentences and both men are required to pay $6,750 in restitution.

According to evidence presented to the court, Hill had routinely purchased a small amount of cocaine from an individual. However, on Nov. 12, 2014, Hill and Benson robbed the individual at gunpoint and instructed him to contact his supplier, who Hill and Benson also planned to rob. The man turned his cell phone over to Hill, who pretended to be the individual and arranged to meet the supplier later that day in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte.

The duo warned the man from who Hill had previously purchased cocaine that if he informed the supplier of their intentions, they would “off him.”

Later that day, as planned, the cocaine dealer went to the parking lot to meet his supplier. While armed with a handgun, Benson hid in the back seat of the dealer’s car, while Hill hid in a nearby wooded area, acting as a lookout during the robbery.

When the supplier arrived, he got into the front passenger seat of the dealer’s car. At the point, Benson sat up and aimed his gun at the supplier, then instructed him to hand over his rings. The supplier, however, reached for a gun he had tucked away in his pocket, and Benson opened fire, striking the supplier a total of six times, which resulted in the supplier’s death.

Benson, who was also injured, then got out of the dealer’s car and walked over to the supplier’s car where he discovered the supplier’s girlfriend, who was four months pregnant at the time, was sitting in the front seat. Benson aimed his gun at her, but she was able to drive off before he fired.

The woman, who was not harmed, placed a call to 911.

Meanwhile, Benson and Hill left the scene in Hill’s vehicle and went to a secluded area where Hill dropped off Benson and drove away. Benson was later found by paramedics and transported to the hospital to receive medical treatment for the gunshot wound he sustained during the robbery. Hill, who was already a convicted felon, was arrested later the same day. Officers found drugs and guns inside his car.

Benson and Hill were slapped with a slew of charges, which included: Hobbs Act robbery and aiding and abetting; conspiracy to commit kidnapping; kidnapping and aiding and abetting; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting; brandishing/discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting; causing death in the course of using, carrying and possessing a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“Benson and Hill planned and carried out a scheme to rob a suspected narcotics trafficker, ultimately killing him over a small amount of drugs and cash,” said U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose, adding, “The two men will now have to spend the rest of their lives in prison for their violent crime.”

C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Field Division of the ATF, said the bureau’s primary mission is to combat violent crime and that goal was achieved in this case.

“The arrests and subsequent life sentences for Benson and Hill send a clear message that ATF and its law enforcement partners will not allow violent criminals to continue victimizing our communities and neighborhoods,” Hyman said.