Crime & Courts

Givens gets life in prison for killing of Columbia mayor’s brother-in-law

A Charlotte man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted Friday in the fatal shooting of the brother-in-law of Columbia’s mayor.

Arthur Lee Givens, 41, was sentenced by Judge Eric Levinson in Mecklenburg Superior Court after being found guilty in a jury trial. Before the trial, prosecutors said, Givens also pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the same crime.

The shooting took place last Dec. 6 outside a convenience store on Beatties Ford Road at LaSalle Street in northwest Charlotte. The victim was 38-year-old Donald Everett Gist, brother-in-law of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Gist was shot five times, police said, and investigators said the two men knew each other.

Gist’s father, Columbia attorney Donald Gist Sr., released a statement after Friday’s verdict, thanking authorities “for the diligent legal prosecution of a dangerous criminal.”

North Carolina prison records show Givens served two four-year sentences in the 1990s, on assault with a deadly weapon and larceny charges.