October 13, 2007
Chelmsford Native Guilty
By Lisa Redmond, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.
Oct. 13--NEWPORT, N.H. -- Chelmsford native Kenneth Carpenter was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder in the 2005 killing and incineration of a Goshen woman whom he believed was interfering with his love life.
Carpenter was sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. Carpenter is a 1970 graduate of Chelmsford High School. His family once owned two movie theaters in town.
Prosecutors allege that Carpenter killed Meyer and then burned her body because he was furious with her for interfering with his love life. He believed, they say, that she was preventing him from rekindling his romance with former girlfriend Sandra Merritt, 45, who broke off their 11-month relationship.
Defense attorney Mark Sisti argued Carpenter couldn't have killed the Goshen woman two
years ago because he was seen driving out of town on the day she was presumed murdered.
Carpenter was heading toward Massachusetts when he left a Claremont, N.H., gas station on Feb. 23, 2005, the day prosecutors claim he killed Edith "Pen" Meyer and incinerated her body at his Lempster home, the Union-Leader reports.
"If you don't know where something happened and you're trying a case in this state, you lose," Sisti said. "You lose right out of the gate."
Senior Assistant Attorney General William Delker focused on a mountain of circumstantial evidence that links Carpenter to the murder.
A blue notebook found under a red chair cushion in Carpenter's house showed a "crude" sketch, in which a stick-figure man is pointing a gun with a fire in the background, the newspaper reported. Based on skull fragments found in the fire pit, prosecutors say Meyer was shot in the head with a .22-caliber bullet and then her body was burned.
A .22-caliber rifle, wrapped up in Carpenter's jacket, was found in his shed. Meyer's unique jewelry and keys were found in a burn pile and barrel used for burning.
"It's almost impossible to imagine the terror that Pen Meyer experienced that morning," Delker told the jury in his closing argument.
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