Tanner Banderet, 20, was found dead in a Westminster field in August 2020.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A man was sentenced this week after an Adams County jury convicted him of second-degree murder for fatally shooting another man and then dumping his body in a field more than two years ago.

Following a five-day trial in August of last year, the jury found Christopher Matthews guilty in connection with the death of 20-year-old Tanner Banderet.

Early on Aug. 13, 2020, Matthews, then 20, picked up Banderet from a Westminster apartment complex to complete a cocaine deal, prosecutors said.

As Matthews was driving near 116th Avenue and Pecos Street, he grabbed a handgun from the center console, pointed it at Banderet, and fired a single shot that struck the victim in the head.

According to prosecutors, Matthews then drove to a field along West 84th Avenue in Westminster where he dumped Banderet’s body. Before leaving the scene, Matthews took cash, cocaine, and Banderet’s ID.

Afterward, according to prosecutors, Matthews deep-cleaned his vehicle and disposed of the evidence. Following his arrest, prosecutors said Matthews changed his story about what happened multiple times but eventually claimed self-defense.

The jury ultimately rejected that claim with their guilty verdict.

On Jan. 11, an Adams County Judge sentenced Matthews to 35 years in the Department of Corrections. 

“This defendant destroyed a life,” said District Attorney Brian Mason. “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.”

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