David Ison Pleads Guilty To “Laurel Five” Murders
(Brookville, Ind.) – The man who allegedly pulled the trigger in the massacre of the Laurel Five pleaded guilty yesterday in a Franklin County courtroom.
David Ison, of Fayette County, is accused of murdering five people on Stipps Hill Road near Laurel on September 25. The victims were Roy Napier, 50; his estranged wife Angela, 47; their two grown children Melissa Napier, 23, and Jacob Napier, 18. Their friend and neighbor Henry X. Smith, 43, was found shot and beaten outside a home across the street.
Investigators allege Ison’s motive was because Roy Napier had raised the price of prescription pills he was selling Ison by $2.
During a hearing Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court, Ison made an unexpected guilty plea, the Batesville Herald-Tribune reports.
Judge Stephen Cox slated Ison’s sentencing for March 14 at 9:00 a.m. He faces the possibility of up to life in prison without parole. Because he pleaded guilty, Ison cannot appeal and there will be no great cost to the county to prosecute the case.
Prosecutor Melvin Wilhelm decided February 3 not to seek the death penalty against Ison for one of the worst murder cases in southeast Indiana’s history.
Ison must still face a charge of Attempted Armed Robbery in Ripley County. He is suspected of committing a botched holdup at the Triplett’s Drug Store in Osgood last May 9.
Wilhelm told the Herald-Tribune focus will soon shift to Amanda Napier, the woman who drove Ison to and from the murder scene. She told investigators she waited in the car up the road as Ison went to obtain the prescription pills from Roy Napier.
Napier – unrelated to the four victims who share her last name – was also driving the vehicle when police arrested Ison during a traffic stop on U.S. 52 in Andersonville, Indiana three days after the murders.
The prosecutor said his office will review whether to file criminal charges against the 35-year-old.