1 suspect pleads guilty in Kansas carnival vendors’ deaths


One of several people charged in the deaths of a couple who disappeared from a Kansas county fair has pleaded guilty.

Michael Fowler, Jr., 54, of Sarasota, Florida, pleaded guilty to the three counts in Barton County District Court. District Judge Mike Keeley accepted the pleas. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

A capital murder charge was dropped.

Fowler was charged with the crimes in connection with the July 2018 deaths of Alfred “Sonny” Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter, both of Wichita. They were discovered in July in shallow graves near Van Buren, Arkansas.

Prosecutors say the Carpenters were killed at the Barton County Fair, where they were vendors. The suspects worked for the carnival company at the fair.

Investigators say one suspect posed as a carnival mafia boss and ordered the other suspects to kill the couple. Police have said the “carnival mafia” does not exist.

 Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. The charges agains four other defendants are pending.

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