A Riverside man who killed a 21-year-old Long Beach resident whose personal information he’d fraudulently used to obtain credit cards and bank loans in a $600,000 scam was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder.
A Riverside jury deliberated four days before finding 37-year-old Dante Danil Carter guilty of the November 2016 slaying of Eric Burniston.
Along with the murder count, jurors found true a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, and also convicted Carter of 28 other charges, including grand theft, money laundering, forgery and identity theft.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Steven Counelis scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 17 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Carter is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. He’s being held without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
According to prosecutors, Carter’s months-long scheme involved winning the trust of young adults whose credit histories were thin or spotty, offering them an opportunity to invest in his auto loan business as a means of improving their credit records.
A trial brief filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office stated that when the four victims signed on, the defendant turned around and used their identities to acquire credit cards, auto loans and other financial resources for his own personal gain, leasing apartments for himself and his girlfriends, as well as purchasing vehicles.
Burniston was one of those who fell prey to the scam.
According to the D.A.’s Office, when sheriff’s investigators and other law enforcement agencies got wind of the fraudulent activity and began asking questions, Carter decided to eliminate Burniston, who wanted to be reimbursed for his losses.
Carter arranged to meet the victim in the area of Mojeska Summit and Squaw Mountain roads, just south of the Dos Lagos Mall in Corona, to talk about financial restitution, according to prosecutors. The defendant had his personal assistant, a man identified only as “B.C.,” who became a key prosecution witness, drive him to the location, where Burniston was waiting in his red Honda Civic about 2 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2016.
According to the brief, Carter asked Burniston to speak to him behind the Honda, and as the young man reached into his pocket for a lighter to smoke a cigarette, the defendant shot him twice in the head with a 9mm pistol, leaving him dead on the shoulder of the road.
Investigators, with the help of eyewitnesses, quickly identified Carter as the shooter, and he was arrested at his five-bedroom luxury home in a gated community of Riverside.
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