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Mural of Slain Ex-Con 'Killer Ben' Defaced in Ft. Greene

By Janet Upadhye | July 6, 2015 2:27pm
 A mural of local Benjamin O'Garro, who was convicted of attempted murder, was defaced in Fort Greene.
A mural of local Benjamin O'Garro, who was convicted of attempted murder, was defaced in Fort Greene.
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Joe Gonzalez

FORT GREENE — A controversial mural of a street legend and attempted murderer was recently defaced in Fort Greene.

The mural depicts Benjamin O'Garro, aka "Killer Ben," who is rumored to have shielded himself with a 4-year-old child during a gun battle on a playground, was convicted of attempting to kill a police officer in 1988, and was shot to death in a phone booth on Myrtle Avenue in 1995 after allegedly stealing a gold chain from an associate of the Notorious B.I.G.

Located on the corner of Vanderbilt and Myrtle Avenues, near the Walt Whitman Houses where he grew up, the mural includes the words "Our never ending love for you, your memories will always shine through," written above the name "Ben" spelled out in capital letters.

Below is written "a cut above the rest," with O'Garro's birth and death dates — November 5, 1968, to August 17, 1995 — written in white.

O'Garro's eyes, name, and death and birth dates were covered with white paint over the weekend, according to local resident Joe Gonzalez, who snapped a picture of the defacement.

The mural was painted in 2008 by members of the artist collective Tats Cru and commissioned by O'Garro's wife, Nicki.

Artist Sotero Ortiz, aka BG 183, who painted O'Garro's face on the mural, said that he would be willing to touch up the painting if the family asked him to.

"It is very rare for a memorial wall to get crossed out," he said. "They are about honoring the dead — not about questioning how this person lived their life or died."

"Everyone is loved by someone," he added.