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'She must die' | Prosecutor reads documents from man who allegedly killed his fiancee Katelyn Markham in 2011

John Carter arrested after 12 years, charged with two counts of felony murder
John Carter
John Carter
Carter's arrest .jpg
Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 27, 2023

HAMILTON, Ohio — Documents found in the home of Katelyn Markham's accused murderer read aloud in court on Monday detailed thoughts of wanting to "kill her."

John Carter pleaded not guilty to the 2011 murder of Markham, his fiancee at the time of her death. His bond was set at $1 million.

During the arraignment, Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser presented evidence for the judge’s consideration before setting the bond.

Among the evidence were documents found through a search warrant shortly before Carter’s indictment.

The documents found in Carter’s home include writings about killing and death. Gmoser read several aloud in court on Monday.

“Deep down, I love her.
You want to kill her, but I love her.
She must die.
I can't kill her.
Yes, you can,” one of the documents read.

Another document reads “I slit your wrist with the key to your heart.”

The prosecutor referenced a forensic anthropology report that indicates there was sharp instrumental trauma to Markham’s wrist.

Gmoser said the documents found in Carter’s home did not have a date on them.

“They were in a binder with his name on it. Some had his name on them some did not,” Prosecutor Gmoser said.

“Ordinarily without the written motion and the request for the consideration of the respect of bond, I probably wouldn't be able to go into the detail that I did,” Gmoser said. “But there's no other way to talk about weight and sufficiency without the judge knowing what the evidence is. So, I was compelled to read those into the record, which I did.”

John Carter was taken into custody Wednesday by the Forest Park Police Department.

The body cam video shows Carter in handcuffs being patted down by officers before he's put in the back of a police cruiser. A camera inside the police cruiser shows Carter sitting in the back of a cruiser. There is no audio on the video so it is unclear if Carter was saying anything. Carter is then taken out of the cruiser by police.

Watch the full body camera footage here:

BODY CAM: Fiancé of cold case victim arrested for her murder

Carter was arrested during his shift at Neusole Glassworks on Kemper Drive.

In a letter, the company said Carter was terminated due to "the severity of the charges."

He was hired in 2016 and at the time of his arrest, he held the position of assistant studio manager and was an instructor.

"John has been a model employee while at Neusole," the company said. "He was one of our most requested instructors."

The company said that prior to hiring Carter, he was fully vetted. Management was allegedly aware of his connection to the Markham cold case.

"As part of his vetting, law enforcement involved in Markham's case were contacted. At the time in 2016, we were informed that John was not a suspect," the company said.

View the full letter here:

Neusole Glassworks letter

Carter's indictment was unsealed last week, revealing the first official court documents that tie Carter to Markham's death. Carter has been charged with two counts of felony murder. Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he is being held at the Butler County Jail.

John Carter Indictment by WCPO 9 News on Scribd

This massive break in Markham's case more than a decade after her disappearance brings her family one step closer to the truth.

"Everybody is thrilled," Markham's father, Dave, said following the news. "This is the ending — or beginning of the end — and as everybody thought this ... we all suspected that he had something to do with it."

Markham was a 22-year-old art student residing in Fairfield when she vanished in August 2011. She did not show up for work at David’s Bridal near Tri-County Mall and Carter later called 911 to report her missing.

In the call, Carter said, "I know you’re not supposed to report a missing person before 24 hours, but my fiancee is missing, and I can’t find her anywhere."

John Carter, Katelyn Markham’s fiancé
John Carter, 22, of Fairfield, speaks to people during a search operation for his fiancee, Katelyn Markham.

Markham left her car, keys, dog and all personal belongings with the exception of her cellphone at her townhouse. Her cellphone was turned off at about 12:45 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2011. The GPS device on her phone also was turned off.

According to court documents, Carter allegedly killed her between August 13 and August 14, 2011.

Police and volunteers — including Carter — searched for months, and then years, for Markham. Carter told WCPO in an August 2011 interview he was "absolutely terrified."

"I just want to find Katelyn and celebrate her birthday with her," he said.

Carter said at the time he was hopeful Markham could "fight her way out" if she was somewhere "because she's strong."

When he spoke to WCPO that same month about being interviewed by police, Carter said he wasn't worried.

"I know that I'm more than cooperative and I will always be cooperative until we get Katelyn back," Carter said.

Markham's skeletal remains were found in August 2013 in a remote, wooded area in Indiana about 30 miles from her home. Her death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of death has never been determined.

In an interview with WCPO after the remains were found, Dave Markham said he had theories about her death that he did not want to speak about publicly. He did say the family did not see Carter "much anymore."

In February, 35-year-old Jonathan Palmerton, a man Dave Markham said was his daughter's friend at the time of her death, was indicted for perjury.

According to the indictment, Palmerton is accused of making a false statement "under oath or affirmation, or knowingly swear or affirm the truth of a false statement previously made, when either statement is material" in April 2022.

It is possible he was called to testify before a grand jury, and prosecutors are alleging he did not tell the truth. Gmoser said he is not permitted by law to divulge grand jury proceedings. No additional details, including discovery and the bill of particulars, have been filed in the case.

At the time of Palmerton's arrest, Gmoser said, “This is the first public step in a very long, detailed investigation,” noting multiple agencies, including the FBI have been involved. “The search that took place is not like McDonald’s where you get fast food or the results the same day.”

That same day, search warrants were executed at Carter’s former Fairfield residence where his mother lives and other residences of relatives of friends, according to Gmoser. Investigators from his office and the Fairfield Police Department also dug up yards looking for evidence.

Evidence was taken from the yards and homes, but Carter was not arrested at that time.

What happened to Markham and how she died has remained a mystery despite a $100,000 reward and the efforts of multiple police agencies, private detectives, television shows and a movie.

Indiana State Police and at least two private detectives also have investigated the case with no arrests.

In 2020, a Discovery ID channel show, “Still a Mystery,” featured Markham’s disappearance and death. There was renewed hope it may turn up fresh information leading to an arrest. It did not.

Now, Markham's family said they are relieved to finally get answers.

"I'm numb, I'm ecstatic, I'm happy, obviously relieved," said Dave Markham. "It's about time — I think myself and a lot of other people were expecting this and were waiting for this for 12 years."

Carter is expected to be back in court on April 4.

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