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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • St. Robert man gets life in prison for murder

  • A St. Robert man who admitted to shooting Laila Carpenter last summer at a St. Robert hotel was sentenced to life in prison for murder, according to Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman.
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  • A St. Robert man who admitted to shooting Laila Carpenter last summer at a St. Robert hotel was sentenced to life in prison for murder, according to Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman.
    Charles Howard, 29, entered a plea of guilty on Tuesday to murder in the second degree and armed criminal action for his role in the July 15, 2013, shooting and murder of Laila Carpenter at the Alpine Haus Hotel in St. Robert.
    The plea was a part of a negotiation agreement between Howard and the prosecutor's office, according to Hillman.
    Judge Gregory Warren sentenced Howard to life in prison for the murder charge and 10 years on the armed criminal action charge. Howard will not be eligible for consideration for parole until 2043, according to Hillman.
    Hillman stated that Howard was the primary suspect in this case and had previously admitted to shooting Carpenter with a 9mm handgun over a dispute between Howard, Carpenter and several other people.
    Libby Charles, 43, of St. Robert, was sentenced to four years in prison for hindering prosecution for a felony in conjunction with this case in April.
    Anthony B West, 50, of St. Louis, pleaded guilty to charges of hindering prosecution for this case on Feb. 14. He will be sentenced in October.
    The handgun was discovered by the St. Robert Police Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol two days after the shooting in the woods behind the Alpine Haus.
    During the plea agreement, Howard once again admitted to shooting Carpenter.
    “This plea agreement brings to a close a very sad case in my opinion,” said Hillman. “Three children are not going to have their mother on this or any future Mother’s Day because of Mr. Howard’s actions. Hopefully he will spend the rest of his life in prison thinking about the consequences of his actions.”
    Carpenter was 33 at the time of her death and was the mother of three children.
    Hillman said the prosecutor’s office would like to thank the hard work of Lt. Dorothy Taylor, of the Division of Drug and Crime Control of the MSHP, who was the lead investigator in this case.
    The prosecutor’s office would also like to commend all of the investigators and officers from the numerous agencies who worked this case, including the MSHP, the St. Robert Police Department, the Rolla Police Department, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Pulaski and Phelps county sheriff’s departments.
    “This case was a great example of local and state law enforcement working to put together a rock solid case and as a result, the offender is off the streets and in prison for life where he belongs,” said Hillman.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hillman prosecuted this case with assistance from Assistant Attorney General Josh Harrel and Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Laura Kriebs and Dean Matthews.

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