Crime & Courts

Texas man pleads guilty to killing Wichita couple selling crafts at Barton County Fair

A Texas man has pleaded guilty to killing a Wichita couple that went to the Barton County Fair to sell homemade crafts.

Rusty Lee Frasier, 36, of Aransas Pass, Texas, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree premeditated murder in Barton County District Court, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release. A second defendant, Thomas Donald Drake, 32, of Van Buren, Arkansas, pleaded guilty Monday to obstructing apprehension.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled for either man.

The guilty pleas are in connection to the July 2018 deaths of Alfred “Sonny” Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter, both of Wichita, Schmidt said.

The Carpenters went to Great Bend to sell handmade crafts at the county fair, The Eagle previously reported. The vendors were shot and killed in a camper and later found buried in a shallow grave near the Natural Dam in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. Arkansas police initially said the murders were ordered by a carnival worker posing as a member of a fake carnival mafia.

Frasier is the second of three people charged with murder to plead guilty in the case.

Michael Fowler Jr., 54, of Sarasota, Florida, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of first degree murder and one count of theft. Kimberly Younger, 52, of McIntosh, Florida, also faces murder charges.

Also in connection to the case, Christine M. Tenney, 39, of La Marque, Texas, pleaded guilty in May to one count of aggravated robbery and one count of obstructing apprehension.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle