Judgment Day Comes For John McGraham’s Killer

Last October, a year after the horrific Mid Wilshire-area murder of John McGraham I posted that I was still awaiting justice.

Today justice came. McGraham’s killer, 31-year-old Benjamin Martin, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole.

From the latimes.com article:

Martin reportedly disliked homeless people lingering near the barber shop where he worked. A co-worker later told police he had seen Martin shout at the homeless to move away from the shop, sometimes striking out at them.

A customer said that he saw Martin on a separate occasion chasing McGraham down 3rd Street, hitting him with a bag of towels and kicking him in the back. The barber yelled, “I don’t want to see you around here again,” according to the customer.

When the manager of the barber shop learned of the attack, Martin was fired. Three months later, prosecutors said, Martin returned to the area with revenge on his mind.

That was the night of October 9, 2008. On the south side of 3rd Street at Berendo Martin confronted McGraham. Dousing him with a bucket of gasoline Martin set him on fire with a flare and fled. Residents came to McGraham’s aid and tried to douse the flames but it was too late. He died at the scene of his burns.

McGraham’s gruesome end brought the diverse community together to grieve the loss of the troubled man who had been a fixture of the neighborhood and to demand his killer be found. Three months of investigation later Martin was arrested and charged with one count of murder with special circumstance; allegations of murder by torture and murder by means of lying in wait, making the monster eligible for the death penalty.

I am much more satisfied with this sentence.

2 Replies to “Judgment Day Comes For John McGraham’s Killer”

  1. As one of Johns many friends I thank you for this post and I’m relieved to hear this killer has come to justice. John was a very nice man, I knew him for around 7 years. Whenever I got back to the neighborhood after a long or hard day I felt like I was home when I saw him. He is missed.

  2. Will, thanks so much for the follow up on this. A friend of mine lived at Wilshire and Berendo for a number of years and was on very friendly terms with John. He’ll be very happy (for lack of a better word) to know there’s been some resolution.

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