Surveillance video released in racially-charged September 2015 killing

SAUGET, Ill. – Authorities released surveillance video Thursday of a murder that shocked St. Louis. It happened over spilled beer and a racial slur in Sauget, Illinois, in September 2015, authorities said.

Authorities released the video in response to open records requests after Wednesday’s murder conviction of 35-year-old Lemarc Garrett in St. Clair County Court.

The murder happened around 5:15 a.m. Saturday at a Route 3 convenience store.

The video showed Garrett seeming to take exception when another man got a 12-pack of beer from the “walk-up” window. The man dropped the beer, which splashed Garrett’s shoes. Garrett walked to his car.

Authorities believe he grabbed a gun while there.

The video showed him returning about two minutes later. Words were exchanged. Garrett pulled out a gun and shot Oscar Carbajal, 29, in the abdomen. Carbajal died at the scene.

Madison County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly praised the Major Case Squad for gathering crucial evidence in addition to the video.

Garrett drove away in a rental car after the murder. Investigators ultimately used that information to track him down. More surveillance video showed him returning the car to the Alamo rental lot near St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.

Garrett still had a magazine from the murder weapon in his pocket when he was arrested in St. Louis, Kelly said.

Though witnesses told investigators Garrett asked Carbajal’s friend for a beer and Carbajal used a racial slur when he told his friend to refuse, jurors found that Garrett’s response was simply indefensible, Kelly said.

“There was absolutely no justification for what this defendant did. You could see it in the video,” he said.

Garrett's attorney unsuccessfully argued he was mentally unfit to stand trial. He faces 45 years to life in prison when he is sentenced next month.