A woman accused of killing an elderly Kansas couple as part of an elaborate plan involving alleged 'carnival mafia' initiation has pleaded not guilty of the crimes on Wednesday, police said.
Kimberly Younger is accused of six charges, including capital murder in the killing of Alfred "Sonny" Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter in July 2018.
Hailing from Wichita, the Carpenters were working as vendors at the Barton Country Fair and sold investigators said. They were shot dead, and their bodies were taken 320 miles (515 kilometers) away to Arkansas using the couple's 1-ton pickup truck before they were buried in a shallow grave in the Ozark National Forest near Van Buren, according to the Associated Press.
Initiation task to become members of 'carnival mafia'
Police said a carnival worker posed a member of a fictitious mafia group, 'carnival mafia,' and tricked interested workers into killing the couple as part of an initiation process. Posing as a mafia boss named 'Frank Zaitchik', Younger contacted the interested suspects to kill the Carpenters and dispose of their bodies.
Apart from the first-degree murder charges in which Younger faces life imprisonment, she also faces conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder, solicitation to commit first-degree premeditated murder, and felony theft reported KWCH news. Prosecutors have said they are not seeking the death penalty against Younger.
Other workers who participated in the 'initiation,' including 54-year-old Michael Fowler Jr from Florida, and 35-year-old Rusty Frasier, from Texas, have pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Reports revealed, Fowler told investigators that he believed the initiation task and confessed to shooting the couple. He also said Frasier stabbed Alfred Carpenter.
Two other workers, Christine Tenney 38, from Texas, and 31-year-old Thomas Drake, from Arkansas, pleaded guilty to lesser charges involving obstructing apprehension.
Ex-boyfriend charged with murder of famous LA therapist
The news came on the same day a Los Angeles man was charged with the murder of a prominent family therapist and the ex-fiancee of comedian Drew Carey.
Gareth Pursehouse,41, is accused of killing Dr. Amie Harwick by throwing her from the third-floor balcony of her Hollywood Hills apartment. Authorities were alerted early Saturday after reports of a woman screaming led them to Harwick lying in the ground below the balcony. She later died in the hospital.
Pursehouse is charged with murder, first-degree residential burglary. Since he lied during questioning, he also faces special circumstances allegation making him eligible to the death penalty according to Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Investigation revealed Harwick had expressed fear about an ex-boyfriend and had filed a restraining order against Pursehouse. The restraining order expired recently, police said.