John Carter murder trial: Defense will present evidence of an alibi

Man is accused of killing his fiancée, Fairfield’s Katelyn Markham, in 2011.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

On March 27, 2023, John Carter pleaded not guilty to murder in Butler County Common Pleas Court after being accused of killing his fiancée in 2011. Now the Carter defense team also says he has an alibi.

Carter is accused of killing Fairfield’s Katelyn Markham. A grand jury indicted Carter in March 2023 on a single count of murder under two sections of the law following a monthslong review by investigators from the county prosecutor’s office.

He is free after posting a $1 million bond shortly after the indictment. The four-week trial is scheduled to begin June 24 with Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey presiding.

Friday, attorney Jacob Long filed a legally required notice of alibi stating “John Carter gives written notice that he intends to offer evidence of an alibi that he was not at the scene of the alleged crime at the time of the alleged offense.”

The defense says Carter was at residences on Race Street in Hamilton and West Scioto Drive in Fairfield during the late hours of Aug. 13, 2011, through the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2011, according to court documents obtained by the Journal-News.

It is the second motion in a week filed by the defense team of Long, Lawrence Hawkins III and Chris Pagan after months of silence.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser, who is trying the case personally along with assistants Brad Burress and Katie Pridemore, said about the alibi, “I would assume anybody who is saying they didn’t do something is going to claim that they were somewhere else. That’s fine.”

On May 17 Pagan filed a motion for a more specific bill of particulars, faulting the one filed by prosecutors in September.

The purpose of the bill of particulars is to provide a defendant with more detail about the charges alleged. The bill involved Carter’s changing statements about scratches on his face and the determination from Markham’s remains that she had sharp force trauma to her left wrist.

Specifically, the bill of particulars stated: “During the late hours of Aug. 13, 2011, through the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2011, starting in the area of 5214 Dorshire Drive in the city of Fairfield, Butler County, Ohio, John Carter by physical violence and by force did cause the death of Katelyn Markham.”

Pagan said that is not specific enough.

“The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that the state must inform the defendant in the bill about specific conduct for each offense,” Pagan said in the motion, citing a 2022 decision. “On murder, the bill recites the offense elements, but there is no case-specific conduct about what Carter did to purposely cause the victim’s death.”

Pagan called the bill of particulars bare bones and said “more is required.”

Gmoser said it “seems to be very late in the trial aspect of this case to be bringing up a issue now about 30 days from the commencement of this trial.”

Markham, a free-spirited art student, was days away from her 22nd birthday when she vanished in August 2011 from her Fairfield townhouse. Her skeletal remains were found April 7, 2013, in a remote wooded area in Indiana about 30 miles from her home. Her death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of death has not been determined.

As of Monday, 88 subpoenas for witnesses have been filed by the prosecution.

Prosecutors have turned over hundreds of documents, reports, pictures, maps, cellphone and computer data, search manifests, witness statements and work product in the case from police and a private detective. Some of the evidence is 13 years old, while some was obtained as recently as last summer and fall.

In January, after a status report hearing that didn’t happen in open court, Pagan said the defense would file no motions to suppress evidence.

Carter has not been in a courtroom since April 2023, but he is wearing an ankle monitor and is supervised by pretrial services division.

Prosecutors have also requested a jury view of multiple locations from Butler County to Indiana, where Markham’s body was found.

Prosecutors want the jury to go to the West Scioto Drive home in Fairfield where Carter lived in 2011, Markham’s townhouse on Dorshire Drive in Fairfield, the location where Markham’s body was recovered on South Big Cedar Road in Franklin County, Indiana, and the Carter family farm on Kokomo Hill Road in Franklin County, Indiana.

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