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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Third suspect charged with murder

  • After an ongoing investigation of the death of a St. Robert woman, a third suspect was arrested and charged with murder Monday.
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  • ST. LOUIS – After an ongoing investigation of the death of a St. Robert woman, a third suspect was arrested and charged with murder Monday.
    Laila D. Carpenter, 33, of St. Robert, Mo., was found shot to death outside Alpine Haus Motel & Apartments early July 15.
    After a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) investigation, in conjunction with Pulaski and Phelps County Sheriff's Departments and St. Robert and Rolla Police Departments, two arrests were made and charges filed July 18 against alleged shooting suspects Charles D. Howard, 29, of St. Robert and Libby K. Charles, 43, of St. Robert.
    Further investigation revealed a third suspect was involved in Carpenter's death, Anthony B. West, 49, of St. Louis, who was arrested Friday and subsequently charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree assault Monday morning.
    According to Pulaski County Prosecutor Kevin Hillman, West allegedly committed armed criminal action by knowingly assisting Howard and Charles with a deadly weapon.
    A statement of probable cause released by MSHP notes a fourth man, Jeffrey W. Berkshire, 27, of St. Charles, Mo., allegedly traded narcotics for a 9-mm handgun July 13. The report states Howard then allegedly used the same weapon to shoot Carpenter two days later.
    The July 15 homicide occurred after an ongoing dispute between Howard's and Carpenter's family members, as well as Brian T. Haggard, 32, of St. Robert, who was also fired upon by suspects.
    An investigation revealed that, via phone conversations and text messages, the conflict escalated among parties involved during early morning hours on July 15, which prompted Howard to travel to the Alpine Haus Motel in St. Robert where where Haggard was known to be visiting Carpenter.
    According to police reports, at approximately 6:45 a.m., Howard arrived at the motel, where he found both Haggard and Carpenter outside her room. It was then that Howard fired several rounds from a handgun toward the subjects as they attempted to take cover inside Carpenter's room. One of the shots fired by Howard struck and fatally wounded Carpenter. The investigation also revealed that a three-month-old child and the child's mother were inside Carpenter's room when the shooting occurred, but neither were injured.
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    Howard was arrested and charged with first degree murder, armed criminal action, first degree degree assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.
    As a result of further investigation, Charles was arrested July 16 and charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action.
    The three suspects are being held in Pulaski County Jail, each on a $1 million, cash-only bond.
    The charges for which these individuals have been arrested are mere accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
    If convicted, the three suspects could face more than 30 years in prison.
    A court date for each suspect has not yet been determined though a case set for advice of counsel will occur July 30 for each suspect.

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