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Man sought in '98 Santa Monica slaying is arrested in Jamaica

Paul Carpenter, 31, allegedly killed a German tourist during a botched robbery attempt. Three others involved in the case were convicted.

February 13, 2009|Victoria Kim

A man wanted in connection with a decade-old slaying of a German tourist in Santa Monica has been arrested in Jamaica, where he was living under a false identity, officials said Thursday.

Paul Carpenter, 31, was arrested Wednesday morning in Kingston, Jamaica. He had been working as a driver at a car dealership and had started a family, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Carpenter has been a fugitive since October 1998, when he, along with his girlfriend and two others, allegedly shot and killed Horst Fietze, 50, during a botched robbery attempt in Santa Monica.

Fietze was walking back to his hotel after a stroll to the beach with his wife and another German couple when Carpenter's group pulled up in a stolen car and demanded money, authorities said. The tourists did not understand the robbers' demand, and Fietze was shot as the assailants tried to rummage through their pockets.

Fietze's slaying drew intense coverage from German media. The crime and a slew of other shooting deaths the same month caused panic in a city dependent on tourists. Santa Monica was playing host to a travel agents' conference the weekend of Fietze's death.

Carpenter was charged in 1999 with one count of murder and three counts of attempted robbery. If convicted, he could be eligible for the death penalty, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

A tipster notified federal agents of Carpenter's whereabouts and will receive a $20,000 reward, Eimiller said. Carpenter was charged and convicted of possessing fraudulent identification in an expedited proceeding in Jamaica and is expected to be deported and returned to Los Angeles today, Eimiller said.

The three others accused in the crime were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2001.

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victoria.kim@latimes.com

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