Capital murder trial set for this month



By Adam Armour

Itawamba County Times

The trial for Jake Carpenter, accused of the 2011 double murder of an elderly Fulton couple, is scheduled for later this month.

Carpenter’s trial, according to Itawamba County Circuit Clerk Carol Cates, is currently scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 27, although that date could potentially change if either the defense or prosecution asks for and is granted a continuance.

Carpenter is charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of robbery for his alleged involvement in the March 24, 2011 stabbing deaths of Mildred Joy House and her husband, Fred Doyle House, both of 509 Spencer Road, Fulton. Carpenter is the son of their neighbor. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial is scheduled to be presided over by Judge Paul Funderburk. Carpenter is being represented by court appointed attorneys Lori Nail Basham and John Helmert from the Mississippi Office of Capital Defense Counsel.

Since his arrest, Carpenter has been held without bond in the Itawamba County Jail.

Carpenter is accused of breaking into the House residence with the intention of robbery. According to Itawamba County law enforcement officials, the Houses arrived home during the intrusion and an altercation ensued that led to the repeated stabbing of both victims.

Carpenter then allegedly stole the victims’ car and took it to a location in Russellville, Ala.

Law enforcement agents reportedly tracked Carpenter using the help of a former girlfriend. He was taken into custody by the Russellville City Police and then transferred to the Itawamba County Jail.

Originally, Carpenter had been charged with murder and grand larceny, but his charges were eventually upgraded to capital murder. A charge of capital murder, which is incurred when a second crime accompanies a murder, allows for the possibility of the death penalty.

The trial was initially scheduled for March of last year before being continued until September after a request from the defense to allow more time to prepare. A second continuance pushed the trial into October, and a third pushed it into January.

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