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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Suspects charged in two St. Robert area shootings

  • Charges were formally filed Thursday for two separate shooting incidents, which occurred within a three-day span in the St. Robert area.
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  • Charges were formally filed Thursday for two separate shooting incidents, which occurred within a three-day span in the St. Robert area.
    Monday's homicide
    Charles D. Howard, 29, of St. Robert, faces four charges, including first-degree murder, a Class A felony, and armed criminal action, for the shooting death of Laila Carpenter, 33, of St. Robert, who was found slain at Alpine Haus Motel and Apartments early Monday morning.
    A detailed report states that Howard allegedly shot Carpenter to death, then attempted to shoot Brian Haggard, 32, of St. Robert, while an infant child was in the vicinity, resulting in charges of first-degree assault, a Class B felony, and endangering the welfare of a child. in the first degree, a Class C felony.
    Court documents show Howard told police he had been involved in an ongoing dispute with Carpenter and a man who was with her at the motel.
    Those documents say Howard, Libby K. Charles, 43, and two others went to the motel with a gun and the intention of settling the dispute.
    Charles was also handed a felony charge of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and assault in the first degree.
    Howard and Charles are currently being held in the Pulaski County Jail with a $1 million cash-only bond. A not guilty plea was entered Thursday for both Howard and Charles.
    Online court records listed no attorneys for them.
    More charges may be brought forth pending further investigation, which is being conducted by St. Robert Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol and assisted by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, the Rolla Police Department and the Phelps County Sheriff's Department.
    Wednesday's altercation
    A separate shooting incident resulted in three charges filed against Shawn Christopher Gregory, 32, of St. Robert, including domestic assault in the first degree, a Class A felony, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm, a Class C felony.
    Gregory and Frances Blackwood, 32, of St. Robert, were allegedly arguing over custody of a child Wednesday afternoon before the argument escalated, and eventually led Gregory to shoot Blackwood with a rifle.
    Gregory fled the scene but soon afterwards surrendered himself to authorities in St. Robert.
    Blackwood remains hospitalized in critical condition. She suffered a bullet wound to her shoulder and chest, according to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.
    Charges may be upgraded should Blackwood die as a result of the injuries suffered.
    Gregory is also being held with a $1 million cash-only bond. No attorney is listed for him and a plea of not guilty was entered Thursday, online court records show.
    The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, along with assistance by the St. Robert Police Department, investigated Wednesday's shooting before making an arrest.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I want to commend the hard work and professionalism of all of the police officers and the police agencies involved in these cases,” Pulaski County Prosecutor Kevin S. Hillman said. “They have worked around the clock investigating these crimes since they happened to make sure that these dangerous offenders were off the street and in jail where they belong.”
    The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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