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Pethtel, Frasier head to prison on separate murder convictions
Rusty Fraiser - NEW
Rusty Lee Fraiser

Two men convicted of murder charges in separate Barton County cases were released to the Kansas Department of Corrections to begin their prison sentences Friday. Rusty Lee Frasier and Nicholas Pethtel were taken to the El Dorado Correctional Facility’s Reception and Diagnostic Unit (RDU). All male inmates start at the RDU, where they receive orientation and are assigned to a custody classification, appropriate programs and a permanent housing assignment.

Rusty Lee Frasier

Rusty Lee Frasier, 37, of Aransas Pass, Texas was released to the Kansas Department of Corrections Friday after being sentenced on Nov. 12 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 100 years in connection with the July 2018 premeditated murders of Alfred “Sonny” Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter, both of Wichita, during the Barton County Fair.

The Carpenters were working as vendors at the fair when they were killed and their bodies were taken to Arkansas, where they were buried in a national forest near Van Buren, Arkansas.

In July 2019, Frasier pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. Three other defendants, Michael Fowler Jr. of Sarasota, Fla., Thomas Donald Drake of Van Buren, Arkansas and Christine M. Tenney of La Marque, Texas, have also pleaded guilty to charges related to the murders and were previously sentenced.

Kimberly Younger, of McIntosh, Florida, has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including capital murder, in the Carpenters’ deaths. Her case is still pending in Barton County District Court.

Fowler was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 100 years. He is incarcerated at the El Dorado Correctional Facility and is in maximum custody.

Tenney was sentenced to four years, 11 months, for aggravated robbery and eight months for obstructing apprehension for her role in the deaths. She is at the Topeka Correctional Facility, which houses female inmates, and her custody level is low-medium.

Drake was convicted of obstruction in the apprehension of a person committing a felony. He was discharged on Feb. 22, 2020, when his sentence expired.

Nicholas A. Pethtel

Also on Friday, Nicholas A. Pethtel, now 24, was released to the Kansas Department of Corrections. Pethtel was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison on Sept. 30, on one count of intentional second-degree murder, a level 1 person felony, by Judge Carey Hipp. His earliest possible release date is Aug. 5, 2030.

Pethtel previously entered a plea of guilty to fatally shooting Charles G. Rousey, 34, of Great Bend on Aug. 13, 2019.

That night, Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 398 Grove Terrace near the airport west of Great Bend at 8:36 p.m. for a report of a disturbance and shots fired.

Deputies and members of the Kansas Highway Patrol checked the residence and discovered Rousey’s body at the rear of the building. He had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Deputies were able to develop suspect information from witnesses and issued an “attempt to locate” (ATL) bulletin for Pethtel and the vehicle he was driving.

Later that night, members of the Great Bend Fire Department who were returning from an accident scene heard the ATL broadcast and spotted the suspect vehicle on South Main Street in Great Bend. They notified 911 dispatchers, who in turn sent law enforcement to the area. Members of the BCSO and the Great Bend Police Department stopped the vehicle on Railroad Avenue between Washington and Main. Pethtel was taken into custody without incident.

State records show Pethtel worked as a corrections officer at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility in 2015 and 2016.

Nicholas A Pethtel - NEW
Nicholas A Pethtel