Four people to be charged with murder in Old North End shooting

Local News

Three more people are expected to be charged with murder in the shooting death of a 23-year-old man earlier this week in Burlington’s Old North End.

Burlington police said Thursday that two men arrested in Connecticut, as well as a 36-year-old man who was wounded in Tuesday’s shooting on North Willard Street, will be charged with the second-degree murder of Benzel Hampton, 23.

Lesine Woodson, 32, of Orlando, Florida, was charged with second-degree murder Wednesday. She pleaded not guilty  in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.

Police say James Felix, Brandon Sanders and Johnny Ford attacked Hampton in the driveway of 235 North Willard Street on Tuesday as Hampton was completing a drug deal with a resident there.

Hampton exchanged shots with his attackers as he was wrestled to the ground. Hampton was shot in the head and killed.

Felix, who was shot several times, was brought to a nearby Nissan Pathfinder, where police say Woodson was waiting behind the wheel. On Colchester Avenue, they flagged down an ambulance, which brought Felix to UVM Medical Center.

Police arrived at the hospital to discover Sanders and Ford had fled. 

Sanders was apprehended Wednesday while traveling northbound on I-91 near exit 49 in Enfield, Connecticut. The arrest shut down several lanes of traffic as he was taken into custody without incident.

A SWAT team in Connecticut arrested Ford at a Motel 6 nearly 12 hours after he was kicked out of the MGM Grand Casino in Springfeld, Massachusetts. Enfield police said they recovered 107 grams of crack cocaine and more than $17,000 in cash from Ford’s motel room.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said Ford has previous arrests in Florida for armed robbery, aggravated battery, carrying a concealed weapon and various drug-related charges. Sanders has previous arrests in Florida for robbery and larceny.

In January, Hampton, who is from Florida, led state troppers on a 30-mile, high-speed pursuit from Middlesex to Essex. The chase ended when Hampton crashed into another motorist, fled on foot and was apprehended by officers.

Del Pozo said Hampton was wanted in New York after his indictment on a felony weapons charge.

Crack cocaine was recovered from Hampton’s body Tuesday.

Del Pozo said the shooting “sent bullets everywhere.

“We were pulling them out of walls and pillars,” he said. “We are lucky nobody else was injured or killed, especially bystanders.”

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