Man sentenced to prison for murder during botched drug deal in Westminster

Fatal shooting at a Westminster apartment complex on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A man was sentenced to 60 years in prison Tuesday for a fatal shooting during a drug deal in Westminster in January 2018, the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said.

Dariques Hemphill was sentenced for second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the death of 19-year-old Ricardo Sanchez.

Prosecutors said Hemphill, 19, and Kerstie Arnold, 20, had arranged a cocaine deal and were going to meet with the dealer in the parking lot of the Park Place Apartments at 9141 Federal Blvd. on Jan. 5, 2018.

But instead of paying for the drugs, Hemphill and Arnold told the five occupants of the drug dealer’s vehicle to empty their pockets.

Prosecutors said Hemphill went to the driver’s side of the vehicle and fired four shots into the head and neck of Sanchez, killing him.

A female passenger was shot in the leg but survived. Three other passengers, including the one who arranged the drug deal, were not shot, prosecutors said.

After Sanchez was shot, the driver accelerated across the parking lot, over a grassy area and crashed into a ground-floor apartment.

Hemphill and Arnold then fled the scene in a stolen Ford Expedition.

The Aurora Police Department linked the vehicle to the couple after they used it in a robbery about 12 hours after the shooting, prosecutors said.

Arnold left behind her purse during a struggle with the robbery victim, prosecutors said. Hemphill was arrested on Jan. 9, 2018, while still driving the stolen vehicle.

Detectives gained records from Facebook showing Arnold setting up the drug deal. Arnold and Hemphill gave full confessions to police after being arrested, prosecutors said.

Hemphill pleaded guilty on Feb. 1 to second-degree murder as part of a plea bargain that set his sentence to 60 years in prison.

Arnold pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Feb. 15.

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