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A man preparing to receive a 10-year prison sentence for his involvement in the shooting death of a friend will now be home for Christmas because of a touching appeal by the victim’s mother.
District Judge Charles Hickman on Monday sentenced Timothy Carpenter to 10 years of probation after he heard a statement from Laura Fletcher, whose son, David died in an unusual shooting that occurred on Brown Avenue in Shelbyville in October 2008.
Carpenter, 24, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. In exchange for a guilty plea on charges of reckless homicide and second-degree burglary, Carpenter expected to serve two consecutive five-year sentences.
But Hickman threw out the agreement.
“The judge gave him probation after receiving the victim’s impact statement,” Shelby County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Melanie Carroll said.
Carpenter and another friend, Joshua Fast, 24, both of La Grange, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and complicity to second-degree burglary for waiting in a truck outside while Fletcher, 28, went to retrieve belongings from a home he was vacating.
Fletcher’s family members believe he broke a window to gain access to the house because he forgot his key.
Fletcher had forgotten his key, family members say, so he broke a window to get inside, thinking no one was home to let him in.
But he was shot by his former roommate, Eric Reynolds, who fled the house but later told police he thought Fletcher was an intruder. He was not charged.
Carpenter and Fast tried to drive Fletcher to the hospital, but they became lost on unfamiliar streets. They called 911, but he died before police reached them on Mount Eden Road.
When Carpenter pleaded guilty, prosecutors recommended a 10-year sentence, 5 years on the homicide charge and 5 years for burglary, to be served
Carroll said that going into the courtroom Monday she had no idea how the judge would react to Laura Fletcher’s request.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I’ll say this – it sure says a lot about what kind of heart that lady has,” she said.
Fletcher said in an interview Tuesday that she asked the judge for leniency because Fast and Carpenter were her son’s friends and she knows they loved him.
“I never thought either one of the boys deserved the charges because I don’t feel like they had anything to do with David’s death,” she said. “I feel that way about both boys.”
Fletcher expressed frustration with local police.
“I still feel like the police didn’t do what they should have done, and as far as I’m concerned, if they’re not going to charge Eric, then these two boys shouldn’t be dealt the full blow of everything either,” she said.
No appearance for Fast
Fast was offered the same plea agreement as Carpenter, but he has not been able to accept, because he has been incarcerated in Oldham County since Nov. 10.
A charge of burglary he incurred this year was dismissed against him on Nov. 24, but two charges of theft remain, and Oldham County Commonwealth Attorney
Barry Moore said those charges won’t be presented to the grand jury until January.
He added that he doesn’t know if the charges in Oldham County will be dealt with first, or those in Shelby.
Fletcher’s plea for leniency included Fast as well as Carpenter.
She said she just wants them to have a chance to make a good life for themselves, a chance that was denied her son.
“David was my only child, and I do thank God for one thing,” she said. “I thank God that the last conservation we had, the last words we said to each other was ‘I love you.’”
Lisa King is a reporter for the Sheby Sentinel News, one of The Oldham Era's sister newspapers. E-mail us about this story at: email@example.com.