Ripley County Sheriff's Office
(Brookville, Ind.) – David Ison, the man accused of murdering five people in Franklin County, will not face the death penalty, county prosecutor Mel Wilhelm said Friday.
Wilhelm filed a life-in-prison-without-parole charge in Franklin Circuit Court, a sixth charge in addition to the five murder charges Ison, 46, already faces.
Ison, a Fayette County resident, allegedly shot Roy Napier, his estranged wife Angela, their two grown children and family friend Henry Smith at two homes on Stipps Hill Road near Laurel on September 25. Ison’s then girlfriend told police that Ison shot the family because Roy Napier had raised the price of prescription pills Ison was trying to buy from Napier.
Police were called to the murder scene after neighbors drove upon Melissa Napier’s four-year-old daughter wandering in the road. She was the only survivor of the massacre.
According to the Richmond Palladium-Item, Wilhelm had considered filing death penalty charges against Ison and presented the case in October to the Capital Litigation Committee of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council for its evaluation.
Citing the publicity the murder case has received, Ison’s defense attorney filed for a change of venue for the trial. Franklin Circuit Court Judge Steven Cox granted that request in November.
Cox could rule soon on where the trial would be located.
A death penalty trial could have been costly for Franklin County. County officials have been discussing a possible short government shutdown to save funds to prosecute Ison for the death penalty.