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Accused Murderer Requests Change Of Venue
Updated October 26, 2015 7:48 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(PAOLI) - The defense for a Marengo man accused of two murders is requesting a change of venue, saying because of media stories and social media posts he cannot receive a fair trail in Orange County.

According to the motion filed in Orange County Circuit Court, Nick J. Herthel, John Carpenter's attorney, believes pretrial publicity including articles featured in newspapers, on radio and TV stations "will make it impossible for him to receive a fair trial."

Herthel, however, added that 37-year-old Carpenter "does not oppose selection of a jury from another county for purposes of conducting the trial in Orange County."

Judge Larry Blanton has taken the motion under advisement depending on how jury selection proceeds.

Also last week, Blanton appointed Dr. Michale Keith Coots of Indiana University Health Paoli Hospital to perform a psychiatric evaluation of Carpenter. The purpose is to determine if he's competent to stand trial. The motion says Carpenter suffered a serious head injury in an accident making him incompetent to stand trail.

Herthel says that a psychiatric evaluation is necessary in order to determine Carpenter's competency to stand trial and assist with determining his mental stability and to see if Carpenter can adequately assist counsel in preparing his case for trial.

Carpenter is facing two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. He, along with two other men, is believed to have killed two people in June 2014 and seriously injured a third.

Orange County Prosecutor Kelly Minton has filed a motion in Orange County Circuit Court asking that Carpenter spend the rest of his life in prison.

Carpenter is accused of killing 56-year-old Nicky Fields of Paoli and 25-year-old Corey Michael Harris, who were shot to death at Fields' home. He is also charged with shooting then 29-year-old Daniel Smitson in the mouth at Field's home on Sandy Hook Road in Paoli.

At 1:05 p.m. on June 23, a passer-by alerted police to a man lying near the roadway in front of a home in the 2200 block of Sandy Hook Road.

According to court documents, the day before he died, Fields expressed concern that Carpenter was out to hurt him. Those documents also indicate that what happened inside the mobile home was a robbery gone wrong.

Fields' body was found inside the home. Harris was found outside, as was Smitson. Both Fields and Harris suffered gunshot wounds to the head and died at the scene. Smitson was shot underneath his neck, the bullet went above his mouth and it came out his eye.

Smitson was able to tell police that three men in a red and gray Dodge truck came to the home and began shooting with a small-caliber handgun.

Police discovered a truck matching Smitson's description was registered to Carpenter. Also charged with the crimes were James Davidson of Marengo and Elbert Brooks.

Brooks admitted going to Field's home with Carpenter and Davidson to get meth and he stayed in the vehicle when Carpenter went into the home. Davidson stayed outside the residence. Brooks told police he heard yelling and two gunshots from inside the home, and Carpenter and Davidson left the home, carrying a blanket with items inside it.

Brooks told police he saw a man walking toward the roadway, heard a gunshot and saw the man fall.

All three men were arrested within days of the shooting.

Brooks, who plead guilty to the crimes, was sentenced by Orange County Circuit Judge Larry Blanton in January to 100 years in prison. Brooks was sentenced to 55 years in prison on one count of murder, 30 years for attempted murder and 15 years for robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. A second murder count was dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Davidson is yet to stand trial.

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