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Capital murder trial now set for September
Defense seeks to suppress statements
new_re_Murder_Kimberly Younger Mug.jpg
Kimberley Younger

Kimberly Younger’s jury trial for the 2018 murders of Alfred and Pauline Carpenter has been moved back from May 17 to Sept. 7, according to Barton County District Court records.

Meanwhile, Senior Judge Edward Bouker has been hearing motions about the admissibility of statements Younger made to law enforcement in Arkansas.

The Carpenters were a Wichita couple who sold crafts, jewelry, purses and other handmade items at fairs. They were killed by carnival workers during the 2018 Barton County Fair. The suspects used the Carpenters’ own truck and camper to drive the bodies 320 miles to Van Buren, Arkansas. The bodies were found on July 16, 2018, next to a creek bed in the Ozark National Forest.

Michael Fowler Jr. and Rusty Frasier have already entered “guilty pleas” in the murder of the Carpenters. In exchange for their pleas to two counts of first-degree murder, charges of capital murder were dismissed. They have also implicated Younger as having a major role in the murders.

Two other suspects, Christine Tenney and Thomas Drake, were convicted of obstructing apprehension in connection with the case.

Younger is the only defendant in the case to request a jury trial. She was arraigned in February of 2020 when her attorney announced her plea of “not guilty” to charges of capital murder or the alternative of two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, criminal solicitation and felony theft. At that time she waived her right to a speedy trial within 150 days of the arraignment.

Younger is represented by Tim Frieden with the Death Penalty Defense Unit. The State is represented by Jessica Domme from the Office of the Attorney General. 

While authorities were still looking for the Carpenters, Younger was detained in a patrol vehicle by Cpl. Kevin Dugan and two other officers from the Van Buren Police Department. The defense is attempting to suppress statements she made before and after being advised of her constitutional right to remain silent. At one point she did ask for an attorney but she also wanted to talk, according to prosecutors.

“Ms. Younger wanted desperately to tell a story to law enforcement that would shape her role in the homicides in a positive light,” a motion reads. With “no patience or desire to wait for counsel, she waived her right initially and never invoked or asserted her right prior to the Fowler conversation.”