Humboldt Justice With John Chiv: Carter Sentenced for Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

John Chiv covers the local legal system for his blog. He’ll be sharing his observations on some of the more high profile trials with us in our new Humboldt Justice guest column.

Yesterday, Southern Humboldt man Ben Carter who was originally arrested in the shooting death of Zackery Chapman, was sentenced instead for being a felon in possession of a firearm. On April 16, 2014 Carter shot Chapman. He was not charged with Chapman’s death because witness agreed that Chapman had pointed a gun at Carter first. We’ve covered this story extensively including interviewing Mr. Carter when he was on the run from law enforcement. (See his account of Zachery Chapman’s death here.)

John Chiv, courtroom watcher and local blogger reports on the sentencing below.


John Chiv

Yesterday in Courtroom 6, Judge Christopher Wilson sentenced Benjamin Carter to the upper term imposed for being a felon in possession of a firearm which is three years and that time is doubled because of his prior strike to six years.

Carter had 599 days in custody and, with good conduct, he got credit for 611 days. He was denied probation since unusual circumstances did not exist and he is also ineligible to serve the sentence at the local jail facility. His wife walked out of the courtroom when Judge Wilson said Carter was denied probation and she did not hear the sentence.

Ben carter

Ben Carter

“The circumstances of aggravation outweigh the circumstances of mitigation,” said Judge Wilson. Judge Wilson reminded Carter again that as a felon he is prohibited for lifetime from possessing a firearm.

The probation report included a letter from the Zachary Chapman’s mother.

Because Ben Carter had a conviction that counts as a prior strike, before he can be paroled, he has to serve at least 80% of his sentence.

Earlier Chapters:



  • Get out of this county Mr.Carter. You should have seen this coming but your willingness to up the violence caused something that a more mature attitude would have prevented in the first place.

  • Wait! Isn’t this that guy who tossed the body in the creek for the Easter Egg kids to find?! Then burned down the trailer? I’m glad Gallegos wasn’t around around to plead it out to time served! This guy needs to be locked up and perhaps when he’s older he will be less dangerous.

  • The murder charge was dismissed. Detailed coverage on my blog of this case and why.

    This is what he got for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Best keep watching over your shoulder Mr Carter, keep moving…

  • [edit] I am sorry to see [John Chiv’s] work on this page.

    • I dont know Chiv or anything about him except he’s some guy who just lurks around the courthouse and posts his view of what happened in the courtroom every day [edit] Isn’t that what we have reporters for?

      • Reporters are people who report. John reports.

        Also, I want to say that if anyone wants to criticize the content of Mr. Chiv’s work or how he performs his job, you are welcome to do so. However, personal attacks will be deleted.

        • I didn’t intend for my opinion to be a personal attack on him. I realize now that using the word “creepy” was a bad decision on my part . I don’t know how to edit my comment so you should remove it.

  • Hey, cool, I appreciate getting better information than just the crazy terse press releases from the “authorities”. I’ve landed on John’s blog a few times when googling around for more information. This was a good idea, Kym.

  • John Chiv does a great service to this community and I appreciate what he does.

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