A Texas fairgrounds worker who carried out the execution of an elderly couple under the false belief he’d be initiated into a “carnival mafia” syndicate has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Rusty Frasier, 37, who was convicted of carrying out a hit job on two elderly Kansas carnival workers more than two years ago, was dealt a life sentence on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
Frasier, along with Michael Fowler and Kimberley Younger, was accused in the July 2018 double murder of Alfred and Pauline Carpenter. The two spouses, who worked as jewelry vendors at fairgrounds in Barton County, were fatally shot in their camper and later buried by a creek, investigators said.
Younger, who allegedly posed as the so-called carnival mafia’s ringleader Frank Zaitchik, messaged Frasier and Fowler on social media and convinced them they’d be initiated into a carnival mafia group if they carried out the execution of the Carpenters.
The Carpenters were both shot twice in the head with a 9mm pistol. Their bodies were later recovered from a shallow grave, which had been covered with a mattress in Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest, according to the Wichita Eagle.
“It's done their dead," Fowler, under the impression he was corresponding with Zaitchik, texted Younger after the slaying.
Posing as the mobster, Younger allegedly praised the two carnival workers, then instructed them to clean up the crime scene, dispose of the couple’s bodies, and leave.
“Deep Breaths,” Younger texted, according to police. “The 1st is always the hardest. Jen sent me pictures of the man. I sent onto the heads of council. War is over."
Authorities later allegedly found a Facebook profile for Frank Zaitchik on Younger’s phone, the AP reported.
"[Younger] had me suckered the whole f---ing way and I just threw my whole life away,” Fowler later said, according to Arkansas television station 40/29 News.
Investigators were quick to debunk the notion of a carnival mafia but were nonetheless puzzled by it, according to the Washington Post. Van Buren Police previously referred to the supposed criminal syndicate as “definitely made up,” the AP reported.
District Court Judge Mike Keeley sentenced Frasier to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years for each of two counts of first-degree murder in the Carpenters’ deaths, according to Kansas television station KAKE. The sentences will run consecutively, meaning he wouldn't be eligible for parole for 100 years.
Fowler was previously sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 100 years, the AP reported. Younger has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and five other charges related to the Carpenters’ slayings. She also faces life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors previously took the death penalty off the table, KWCH-DT reported.
Christine Tenney, 40, was also sentenced to 59 months in prison for aggravated robbery related to the couple’s killing. In addition, the Texas woman was slapped with an extra eight months in prison for obstructing law enforcement for apprehension
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