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Jury finds second teen guilty in 2016 murder of Denver chef

Posted: 4:32 PM, Mar 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-26 23:32:46Z

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – A jury found an Englewood teenager guilty of killing the chef at a Denver restaurant in 2016—the second teenager to plead guilty or be found guilty in connection to the case.

Raheem Benson, who has since turned 18, was convicted last Thursday of first-degree felony murder, second-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery in the death of 33-year-old Nicholas Lewis.

Benson and Louis Lara-Macias, who was sentenced in December for Lewis’s death, killed Lewis on Oct. 1, 2016 near South Acoma Street and West Cornell Ave while Lewis was walking home from a convenience store. The chef at Blackbird Public House was found lying on his back on a nearby sidewalk and pronounced dead later that night.

A coroner’s report found Lewis had been shot three times, including in the heart.

Benson and Lara-Macias were arrested  in connection with the case after investigators traced a stolen car out of Denver on Sept. 28, 2016 and were able to connect the suspects to the murder of the Denver chef.

Lara-Macias was sentenced to 21 years in prison, which will be serves after he successfully serves seven years in the youth corrections system.

Benson faces life in prison at his June 15 sentencing, with the possibility of parole after 40 years – something District Attorney George Brauchler said he was unhappy about in a statement to Denver7.

“The public should know that ‘life in prison’ no longer means anything close to that for murderers like this one. Because our state legislature passed a law substantially decreasing the penalties for juvenile murderers, this remorseless killer of a random, innocent, much-beloved, productive member of our society may be let back out onto our streets with our families before he is 40 years old,” Brauchler said.