By Lyndsie Kiebert
Judith M. Carpenter pled guilty to second-degree murder on May 25, putting an end to nearly two years of court proceedings since her 2019 arrest in connection to the 2017 killing of 79-year-old Hope resident Shirley Ramey.
Carpenter pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in early 2020; but, following several months in an undisclosed Idaho Security Medical Program and a mediation ordered earlier in May, the Coeur d’Alene woman entered a guilty Alford plea. Alford pleas are used when the defendant does not intend to admit to wrongdoing, but acknowledges that the evidence against them could likely lead to a guilty verdict.
First District Judge Barbara Buchanan handed down a prison sentence of 15 years to life. Court records show that Carpenter had already served 666 days behind bars — about two years — before her official sentencing on May 28, which will count toward her sentence.
Carpenter is accused of shooting Ramey in the head in April 2017, killing the woman on the porch of her Trestle Creek home.
Evidence suggests that Carpenter was driving through the area and targeted the Rameys’ home for no apparent reason, gunned down Ramey and then entered the home, taking with her a Savage Model 99 rifle owned by Daryl Ramey. She was arrested on unrelated road rage charges later that same day in Lincoln County, Mont., and two weapons — the Savage and a Glock later determined to be the murder weapon — were found in her vehicle.
Those weapons remained in storage until a 2019 test firing matched casings from the Glock with casings found at the Ramey murder scene through use of the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, which tracks and compares ballistics from crime scene evidence gathered all over the country.
According to her obituary, Shirley Ramey graduated from Newport schools in 1957, and married Daryl in 1960. They had two sons together. Ramey is known best for her work as the Hope city clerk for more than 25 years; her headstone at the Hope Cemetery notes that she never missed a city council meeting.
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