Burlington, VT- A seventh person has been sentenced in connection to the murder of a man in Burlington’s Old North End in 2019.
James Felix has been sentenced to 11 and a half years for drug and firearms offenses related to the murder of Benzel Hampton.
According to court records, a feud between two groups of drug dealers came to a head on April 16, 2019, when Hampton sent messages to one of Felix’s colleagues, Lesine Woodson, saying “this is my city”.
Investigators say Felix and two other colleagues, Johnny Ford and Brandon Sanders, waited for Hampton outside an apartment on North Willard St. When Hampton left the building, Felix tackled Hampton, who opened fire and the shooting began. Hampton was shot by both Felix and Ford, Felix was hit by several bullets himself. Hampton was left to bleed out.
Ford has already been sentenced to 15 years, Woodson nearly 7 and a half years, Sanders a little over 4 years, two other people were sentenced to time served for selling cocaine, and one other was sentenced to time served for throwing away the guns used in a wooded area in South Burlington.
Court records show Woodson came to Vermont from Orlando, FL in late 2018 to sell cocaine with Benzel Hampton, but the relationship fell apart when Woodson refused to help pay Hampton’s bail, and the two eventually became rival drug dealers.
In a statement on the sentences, U.S. Attorney Nikolas Kerest stated, “This violent, drug-involved crime occurred in the middle of the day in Burlington as children and their parents walked home from school. It is exactly the kind of horrific and disruptive crime that we work every day to eradicate.”