Convicted killer’s parole denied

COLUMBUS – A man who was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in connection with a 1987 murder in northern Jefferson County will have to wait another 10 years before applying for parole.

Robert Carpenter, 49, was present at the November 1987 murder of Kevin Burks of East Liverpool but claimed he didn’t participate. He testified against three co-defendants who received longer sentences.

Carpenter was with David Lee Hudson, Peter Martin and Billy Wayne Smith when they lured Burks from his grandmother’s house in East Liverpool, saying a friend was in need.

The four men drove Burks to a remote section of Brush Creek Township, where they tortured him, stabbed and shot him, before finally slashing his neck.

Burks’ body was found 11 days later.

Carpenter was arrested in Florida and the three other men were arrested in San Diego.

Carpenter was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for murder, kidnapping and robbery. Hudson, Martin and Smith were each sentenced to 59 years to life in prison.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin, who testified before the parole board hearing on Thursday, said there was a recommendation for Carpenter to be released from prison.

Jackie and Jenny Hicks, Burks’ two sisters, and Frank Noble, a former Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy, also spoke before the parole board, urging the members not to grant release for Carpenter.

Hanlin said the parole board members deliberated about 30 minutes before returning with the denial.

“I’m thrilled he was denied by the parole board,” Hanlin said. “He should never be released from prison. They lured this man out of his house and tortured him.”

Hanlin said the statements provided by Burks’ sisters helped sway the parole board away from granting release.