A third young man involved in the drive-by shooting that killed a teenager at a Parkville intersection has been sentenced to 350 days in jail. Christopher J. Carpenter, 21, of Kansas City, received the sentence on May 1 in Platte County Circuit Court following his plea of guilty to conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “While we could not prove that this defendant aided and encouraged Spencer Crosthwait’s murder, he was present when the murder occurred and helped hide the murder weapon. For that reason, his long jail sentence is very appropriate.”
According to Zahnd, on July 29, 2010, shortly after 12:30 a.m., Stephen Ellis drove to his friend Justin Dougan’s house. Carpenter and Ellis had been at the house smoking marijuana.
Carpenter and Dougan came out of the house and got into Ellis’s car. Dougan was carrying a rifle and told Carpenter and Ellis that “somebody just robbed me, and we are going to go shoot them.”
According to Carpenter, Dougan and Ellis talked about killing a young man who happened to be riding in a car driven by Crosthwait.
At approximately 1:00 a.m., as Crosthwait was waiting on a traffic light at the intersection of 45 Highway and 9 Highway, Ellis drove up to the driver’s side of his car and Dougan fired a shot, which killed Crosthwait.
Dougan and Ellis both claimed that Carpenter yelled “shoot” prior to the shooting. However, Carpenter passed a voice stress test which indicated he did not encourage Dougan to shoot.
Ellis, Dougan, and Carpenter fled the scene, and Carpenter suggested that they throw the murder weapon into the Missouri River. Concerned about traffic on the I-635 Bridge over the river, they ultimately hid the gun in a Kansas City, Kansas field.
Judge Thomas Fincham sentenced Carpenter to just 15 days short of the maximum sentence allowed by law for his crime, a misdemeanor.
Dougan pleaded guilty to second degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon and is serving two life sentences. Ellis pleaded to the same charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Zahnd said, “This was an exceptional misdemeanor case which deserved the exceptional sentence handed down by Judge Fincham. Although this defendant may not have participated directly in the murder of Spencer Crosthwait, he did nothing to stop it. Instead, once it was over, he suggested a way to get rid of the evidence.”
The case was investigated by the Parkville Police Department, with the assistance of the Riverside Department of Public Safety, Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, and Platte County Sheriff’s Department. It was personally prosecuted by Zahnd and Assistant Prosecutor Myles Perry.