September 17, 2019
Court, Judicial District of New Haven, B. Fischer, J.
Matthew C. Eagan, assigned counsel, with whom were James P.
Sexton, assigned counsel, and, on the brief, Emily Graner
Sexton, assigned counsel, and Dan-ielle J.B. Edwards,
assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).
L. Chupak, senior assistant states attorney, with whom, on
the brief, were Patrick Griffin, states attorney, and Seth
Garbarsky, senior assistant states attorney, for the
Prescott and Harper, Js.
Conn.App. 366] The defendant, Benjamin Chase Carpenter,
appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a
jury trial, of murder and arson in the second degree. The
defendant claims that the trial court erred in failing to
instruct the jury, as he requested, on third-party
culpability. We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly,
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
jury reasonably could have found the following facts. Early
on the night of December 25, 2015, the defendant communicated
with Jennifer Antonier, the victim in this case, who was
seeking to obtain narcotics from the defendant on
"credit." Later on that night, the defendant
reconnected with Antonier on the streets of his neighborhood.
Specifically, Antonier, accompanied by an unidentified male,
picked up the defendant in her Subaru Impreza and had him sit
in the front passenger seat. At that time, Antonier was in
the back seat of her car and the unidentified male was in the
drivers seat. Once the defendant entered the car, the
unidentified male began to drive, at which point Antonier
held a gun to the defendants head and demanded everything he
had. After a brief altercation in the vehicle, during which
the defendant admitted to punching Antonier, he was able to
that same night, the defendant made his way back to
Antoniers home located at 28 Lilac Avenue, Hamden (28
Lilac). Once he arrived, he punched Antonier in the face,
took a knife that he regularly carried on his person, cut
Antoniers throat two times, and severed her jugular vein. To
ensure that Antonier would bleed out, the defendant then
slashed her left arm with [194 Conn.App. 367] the knife,
leaving a gaping wound that led to her almost immediate
cutting Antonier, the defendant dragged her body up the
stairs to the second floor landing. He then left and
eventually returned with gasoline that he poured throughout
28 Lilac, including all over Antoniers body. Shortly
thereafter, the defendant set the house ablaze and departed,
taking Antoniers cell phone and car with him.
early morning of December 26, 2015, the defendant connected
with his cousin, Jerome Dixon, at Poor Johns Pub (Poor
Johns). The defendant arrived at Poor Johns by driving
Antoniers car. Dixon testified that the defendant arrived
with blood on his pants. While with Dixon, the
defendant asked if he knew the best location to get rid of a
car. Dixon confirmed that he did know of a place; however,
before showing the defendant the location, Dixon elected to
go purchase marijuana at a location away from Poor Johns.
Dixon completed his marijuana transaction, he drove back,
heading for Poor Johns, when he realized that he was being
followed by the defendant. After pulling over and having a
brief conversation with the defendant, Dixon led the
defendant to Russell Street in New Haven, a location he felt
was a safe and dark place to abandon a car. Once they arrived
at Russell Street, Dixon remained in his car and waited for
the defendant. [194 Conn.App. 368] Through his rearview
mirror, Dixon witnessed the defendant exit the Subaru Impreza
and wipe down the steering wheel, door, and handle of