By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fowler receives life in prison for double homicide
Younger awaits trial; 2 others await sentencing
new_deh_murder plea main pic.jpg
Accused murderer Michael Fowler Jr., center, is escorted into the Barton County Courthouse in this file photo from March 2019 for a plea hearing. Fowler pleaded guilty to murder charges in connection to the deaths of a couple at the Barton County Fair in July 2018. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

A Florida man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 100 years after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Michael Fowler, Jr., 56, of Sarasota, Florida, was sentenced Monday in Barton County District Court by Judge Mike Keeley. Fowler was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for 50 years on each of two counts of first-degree murder. Keeley ordered the two sentences to run consecutively. Fowler was also sentenced to 21 months in prison for theft. Keeley ordered that sentence to run concurrently to the murder sentences.

Fowler pleaded guilty to the charges in March 2019. Fowler was charged with the crimes in connection with the July 2018 deaths of Alfred “Sonny” Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter, both of Wichita. They were vendors at the Barton County Fair where they were killed. Fowler and accomplices stole the Carpenters’ truck and camper trailer and drove it to Arkansas where they dumped the bodies.

The case was investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Great Bend Police Department in Kansas, as well as the Van Buren Police Department and Crawford County Sherriff’s Office in Arkansas. Deputy Attorney General Vic Braden and Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme of Schmidt’s office are prosecuting the case.

Frasier and Tenney

Two additional defendants have been convicted on related charges and are awaiting sentencing.

In July of 2019, Rusty Lee Frasier, then 36, of Aransas Pass, Texas, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. In May of 2019, Christine M. Tenney, 39, of La Marque, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery and one count of obstructing apprehension in the case.

Both Fraiser and Tenney are scheduled for status hearings in September.


Donald Drake, now 32, of Van Buren, Arkansas, pleaded guilty last July to one count of obstructing apprehension. Drake was sentenced to nine months in custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections. His sentencing would normally have resulted in automatic probation but the upward departure for aggravating circumstances “serves the ends of justice,” according to the sentencing documents. He was sentenced last August but has already been in custody for 256 days. He was placed on parole in Oklahoma on Aug. 26, 2019, and his sentence expired on Feb. 22, 2020. 

Kimberly Younger

Related charges against one last defendant remain pending. Kimberly Younger, from McIntosh, Fla., is charged with one count of capital murder or the alternative of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of criminal solicitation. Attorney General Schmidt’s office noted that charges are merely accusations; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.