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Former soldier given life sentence for drug heist killing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A former soldier stationed in Colorado received a life sentence for a drug robbery that ended in a deadly shootout.

Tyler Lee Wheeler, 21, was sentenced Monday in the October 2018 death of Kenyatta Horne, The Gazette reported.

Wheeler was found guilty of first-degree murder in October.

Horne, 20, was shot when a crew of robbers led by Wheeler ambushed him during what was supposed to be a cocaine deal in Security-Widefield, authorities said.

Wheeler was stationed at Fort Carson when he and accomplices arranged to purchase $700 worth of cocaine from Horne.

The group planned to rob Horne outside his parents’ home in the community 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Colorado Springs. After seeing the men approach with guns out, Horne drew a pistol and a gun battle ensued, authorities said.

Wheeler fired more than 20 shotgun shells, authorities said. An autopsy concluded Horne died of a single blast of birdshot in the chest.

Two of Wheeler’s accomplices were sentenced to prison sentences of varying lengths and a third is awaiting sentencing later this month.