Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

February 14, 2012

Ison pleads guilty to murders

-- — David Ison, 46, Glenwood, pled guilty to five murders around 11:30 a.m. Feb. 14 in Franklin Circuit Court, reported county Prosecutor Melvin Wilhelm.

On Oct. 7, 2011, formal charges were filed there accusing Ison of shooting to death a Laurel family (Roy Napier, 50, his estranged wife Angela Napier, 47, and two of their children, Jacob Napier, 18, and Melissa Napier, 23) Sept. 25, 2011, inside of a mobile home, and a neighbor, Henry X. Smith, 43, outside across Stipps Hill Road, according to a probable cause affidavit.

After interviews were conducted, detectives surmised an argument over the quantity and price of oxycodone prescription medications Ison was trying to purchase from Roy Napier may have provoked the shootings.

The defendant was in the courtroom for an initial hearing about a Feb. 3 charge by the prosecutor seeking a life in prison without the possibility of parole sentence for Ison if he was determined to be guilty of causing those deaths.

Earlier Wilhelm had been weighing the possibility of recommending a death sentence for Ison. “It was not an easy decision,” he admitted Feb. 14. “It’s one I took a lot of time thinking about. I talked to a lot of people ... (including) the families of the victims. The majority wanted me to go with life without parole. Several wanted the death penalty. Under the facts of the case, certainly the aggravators are there.”

According to Indiana Code 35-50-2-9, there has to be at least one aggravating circumstance for a person to be sentenced to death and the prosecutor contended Ison qualified for two or three.

“I could understand why they would want the death penalty.”

He noted that because the defendant did plead guilty, there will be no appeal and the case is almost over.

Ison’s formal sentencing will take place March 14 at 9 a.m., Judge Stephen Cox decided Feb. 14.

Wilhelm wasn’t totally surprised by the hearing’s outcome. The prosecutor said he discussed the possibility of Ison admitting he was guilty with defense attorney Hubert Branstetter, Brookville, beforehand. However, “I didn’t know it was going to take place today.”

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