Man who fatally shot Westminster man, dumped body in field sentenced to 35 years

The man charged with shooting and killing a Westminster man, then dumping his body in a field, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Christopher Matthews, 22, was convicted in August 2022 of second-degree murder in the Aug. 13, 2020, death of Tanner Banderet, 20, and sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison.

“(Matthews) destroyed a life,” District Attorney Brian Mason stated in a news release. “He will now serve a lengthy sentence for this serious crime. I am grateful to my team at the DA’s Office for their hard work on this challenging case and to the jury for returning a just verdict.”

Matthews picked up Banderet early that morning from an apartment in Westminster to complete a drug deal, according to the release from the Adams County District Attorney’s Office. As Matthews was driving near 116th Avenue and Pecos Street, he grabbed a Glock handgun from the center console and fired a single shot that struck Banderet in the back of the head.

While the victim was dying, Matthews threw his shirt over Banderet’s head, then drove to a field along West 84th Avenue and dumped Banderet’s body.

Matthews then emptied Banderet’s pockets and left with cash, cocaine and Banderet’s ID.

He then deep-cleaned his vehicle and disposed of evidence.

During the trial after his arrest, Matthews claimed self-defense, according to the district attorney’s office, but prosecutors disproved the claim and the jury convicted Matthews.

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