SANDPOINT – A woman accused of killing a 79-year-old grandmother in Hope, Idaho, will remain jailed on a $1 million bond while the Bonner County first-degree murder case moves toward trial.
Lawyers for suspect Judith Carpenter, 57, argued that investigators had no evidence connecting Carpenter to the crime scene or homicide victim Shirley Ramey other than possession of a rifle missing from Ramey’s home, where the killing occurred.
Prosecutor Dan Rodriguez disputed that assertion, saying that each of the shell casings recovered from the scene of the killing were identified as coming from Carpenter’s handgun.
Forensic scientists from the Idaho State Patrol matched casings from the scene to test-fired casings from Carpenter’s gun provided by Lincoln County, Montana, sheriff’s deputies. The gun was seized from Carpenter after a road rage incident in Libby, Montana, the same day Ramey was killed.
“We know the kill shot came from her gun,” Rodriguez said.
Investigators used phone records to place Carpenter in the Sagle, Idaho, area, which is about 30 minutes from the Ramey home in Hope, at about 11:30 a.m.
Ramey’s husband, Daryl Ramey, left the home just before 11 a.m. that morning, he said during the hearing. He returned home just before 5 p.m. and found his wife dead.
Carpenter was arrested that afternoon in Libby, which is about an hour and a half from Hope, after she admitted to pointing her handgun at another car. She also had the Rameys’ rifle in her car.
Defense attorney Robyn McPherson asked that Carpenter’s bond be reduced to $500,000 or less because she is not a flight risk due to her ties to the North Idaho area. She said Carpenter does not have a criminal history, except from a deferred assault conviction stemming from the road rage.
Rodriguez said Carpenter has contacts in Canada and could be a danger to others if released on bond.
“I think she’s very much a danger to the community and very much a danger to flee,” he said.
Daryl Ramey said outside court that he was glad Carpenter would stay in jail. Prosecutors told him they expect Carpenter to plead not guilty and take the case to trial, he said.
Carpenter’s next hearing is Oct. 21.
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