Man sentenced for killing sister’s boyfriend before SWAT standoff

A man was sentenced to life in prison this week for the June 2016 shooting death of his sister’s boyfriend, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.

Nathaniel Mathis was found guilty of murder, along with possession of a firearm by a first offender probationer and criminal damage to property.

Mathis shot Rodney Benton, 34, eight times while Benton sat in a SUV on Polar Rock Road in southwest Atlanta, a news release said. Mathis then ran to South Bend Park with a .40 caliber pistol, and a hourslong SWAT standoff ensued. 

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A phone argument between Benton’s girlfriend and Mathis, her brother, began earlier that day when she was unable to use Mathis’ EBT card at a grocery store; she used the card as compensation for rent, the D.A.’s office said. When she and Benton got home from the store, Mathis reportedly approached the passenger side of her SUV, yelled “you know what’s going on” and shot Benton to death.

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Mathis ran to the park and asked a woman to tell his sister that he “just snapped,” he loved her, and “didn’t mean it to happen this way,” the woman told police. 

When police arrived, Mathis aimed his gun at his head and threatened to kill himself, the news release said. A SWAT team eventually fired beanbags to subdue him. 

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney sentenced Mathis on Tuesday to life in prison plus 10 years. 

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Previous coverage:

A man is in police custody after a standoff lasting more than four hours in southwest Atlanta on Polar Rock Road. Police say one man has been killed in connection with the standoff.

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