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Preliminary hearing set for capital murder suspect
Other defendants subpoenaed to testify
Kimberly Younger

The final suspect in the 2018 double homicide at the Barton County Fair is scheduled for a preliminary hearing by the end of the year. Kimberly Younger, from McIntosh, Fla., is charged with one count of capital murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of criminal solicitation. The charges stem from the deaths of Alfred “Sonny” Carpenter and his wife Pauline Carpenter, a Wichita couple who were vendors at the fair when they were killed July 14, 2018.

Attorneys Timothy Frieden and Jeffrey Wicks of the state’s Death Penalty Defense Unit and Victor Braden and Jessica Domme from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office held a status hearing via telephone this week with Barton County District Judge Steve Johnson. A two-day preliminary hearing has been scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

The other four defendants charged in connection with the Carpenters’ deaths have all entered guilty pleas. They have agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and to testify truthfully if summoned to do so in the Younger case. Subpoenas were issued Tuesday. 

• Michael Fowler Jr., from Sarasota, Fla., entered a guilty plea in March to two counts of first-degree, premeditated murder. In exchange for the plea, a charge of capital murder was dismissed.

• Rusty Lee Frasier, of Aransas Pass, Texas, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. In exchange for the plea, a charge of capital murder was dismissed.

• Christine M. Tenney, of La Marque, Texas, entered a guilty plea on May 14 to three counts of obstructing apprehension (of Fowler, Frasier and Younger) and to one count of aggravated robbery. 

• Thomas Donald Drake, of Van Buren, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing apprehension.

The Crime

When Fowler entered his guilty plea last March, Deputy Kansas Attorney General Vic Braden outlined the details of the killings. The state would make its case via physical, scientific and cyber evidence, as well as observations and witness statements.

Between July 11-14, 2018, Fowler, Younger and Frasier, all employees of the Wagner Carnival set up at the fair, hatched the plot to kill the Carpenters, who were vendors at the fair. They based this on “their vulnerability, the desire to kill and to obtain their possessions,” Braden said at the Fowler hearing.

He said the plan early in the morning on July 14 was to have Younger distract Alfred Carpenter, who was outside behind the trailer. Fowler, who was armed with a knife and a 9 mm handgun, was going to come up behind him and slit his neck.

However, a struggle ensued and Braden said Fowler ended up stabbing Mr. Carpenter in the chest. The victim was dragged face-up into the trailer where Mrs. Carpenter was asleep in a loft.