Man who killed teen at Peach Stand sentenced to life in prison

The man accused of killing a York County teen at a Fort Mill store in January has pleaded guilty to the murder.

Christopher Benjamin Mendez, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday in York County to shooting Karson Whitsell, 19, at the Peach Stand in Fort Mill. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the maximum punishment for which he was eligible.

Mendez's crime did not meet the requirements for the death penalty under South Carolina law. For a list of aggravating circumstances that make murder eligible for the death penalty, See South Carolina Code 16-3-20 (c).

He also pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Authorities say Mendez and Whitesell were strangers to one another. They say Mendez walked into the store and shot Whitesell several times.

Fort Mill police swarmed the scene shortly after and took Mendez into custody.

Whitesell was a South Pointe High School graduate and a church missionary.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 46 Charlotte for updates.

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