1 suspect pleads guilty in Kansas carnival vendors' deaths

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From left: Kimberly Younger, Michael Fowler, Rusty Frasier From left: Kimberly Younger, Michael Fowler, Rusty Frasier
Christine Marie Tenney Christine Marie Tenney
Sonny and Pauline Carpenter Sonny and Pauline Carpenter

One of several people charged in the deaths of a couple who disappeared from a Kansas county fair has pleaded guilty.

The Great Bend Tribune reports that 54-year-old Michael Fowler Jr., of Sarasota, Florida, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of theft. A capital murder charge was dropped.

The bodies of Alfred "Sonny" Carpenter and Pauline Carpenter of Wichita were discovered in July in shallow graves near Van Buren, Arkansas. Prosecutors say the Carpenters were killed at the Barton County Fair, where they were vendors. The suspects worked for the carnival company at the fair.

Investigators say one suspect posed as a carnival mafia boss and ordered the other suspects to kill the couple. Police have said the "carnival mafia" does not exist.

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