Kwane Carpenter Could Face Death Penalty in Slayings of Common Law Wife and Their Baby

UPDATE NO. 4, JUNE 26, 2:34 P.M.: Kwane Adom Carpenter entered his scheduled arraignment hearing Thursday morning possibly facing the death penalty. Arraignment was rescheduled for July 17, but the charges against the 24-year-old Anaheim resident still include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders that make him eligible for capital punishment should prosecutors decide to seek it. An Orange County District Attorney's office statement reveals the alleged murder weapon: a kitchen knife. The death of Moureen Gathua-Carpenter, the defendant's common law wife, is hitting her attorney in a 2013 identity theft case hard. (She pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and was sentenced to probation and community service in lieu of jail.)

"After refreshing my recollection about the case particulars and my interactions with Ms. Gathua approximately two years ago, I am reminded of her positive attitude and open-minded approach during our discussions," John A. Mango of the Alternate Defender's Office told City News Service. "Of course, any time a human being loses their life it is saddening, but given that I had rather extensive discussions with her and worked hard with her to achieve a just result, the news of her loss as well as the loss of her baby boy is certainly more personal and I am deeply saddened by the news of this tragic set of circumstances."

UPDATE NO. 3, JUNE 24, 8:24 A.M.: The Anaheim Police Department has confirmed that after questioning last night, Kwane Carpenter was arrested on suspicion of homicide. He was booked into the Anaheim Police Department Temporary Detention Facility and held on $1 million bail, according to Lt. Eric Trapp. The spokesman's update indicates that when officers arrived at Carpenter's apartment on West Ball Road, they found the suspect's common law wife Moureen Gathua-Carpenter and their son Kyan Gathua-Carpenter suffering from multiple stab wounds. Both died soon after.

UPDATE NO. 2, JUNE 23, 6:21 P.M.: The Orange County coroner has identified Moureen Gathua-Carpenter, 24, and son Kyan Gathua-Carpenter, 6 months, as the victims in Monday afternoon's slayings in Anaheim. Gathua-Carpenter and her common law husband Kwane Carpenter, who is being questioned by Anaheim police as a person of interest in the deaths, pleaded guilty in a 2013 identity theft case, City News Service reports. Gathua-Carpenter copped on Aug. 20, 2013, to two counts of theft, four counts of unauthorized use of personal identifying information and two counts of acquiring access cards using different names, all misdemeanors. She was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 84 days of public service in lieu of jail, according to court records. Carpenter admitted in October 2013 to four counts of using another's credit card and one count of receiving stolen property, all misdemeanors, and was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 56 days of public service, the records show. A co-worker and "good friend" emailed the Weekly to say the Kwame Carpenter they knew was "a mild tempered person. ... This murderer isn't the person I knew."

UPDATE NO. 1, JUNE 23, 9 A.M.:A security guard spotting Kwame Carpenter in a hospital parking lot early today devolved into a bizarre pursuit, police gunfire, a bite from a canine officer and eventually the capture of the "person of interest" in Monday afternoon's slayings of his girlfriend and a 6-month-old boy believed to be their son, according to police. The security guard at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital around 3:30 a.m. saw a man inside his parked 2001 Lincoln Town Car, both of which fit the description of the vehicle and person of interest sought by police in the fatal stabbings of a woman in her 20s and a 6-month-old boy found after noon Monday in an Anaheim apartment. The guard notified a Santa Ana police officer who was at the hospital on an unrelated matter, and the cop contacted Fountain Valley counterparts for backup before they contacted Carpenter in the southeast corner of the hospital campus, according to Fountain Valley Police Lt. Rob Sweaza. But Carpenter, who was inside his vehicle, refused to surrender and drove off, slamming into and damaging a Santa Ana police car and another vehicle, Sweaza said. A Fountain Valley officer fired two rounds in Carpenter's direction, but no one was injured, according to the police spokesman. A pursuit followed north on Euclid Street, where Carpenter abandoned his vehicle at Mile Square Regional Park and was chased and bit by a police dog before he took refuge in a small pond in the northeast corner of the park, Sweaza said. News video showed the 24-year-old bobbing in the water and later being escorted by police out of the pond with cuts and bruises on his legs. He was turned over to Anaheim Police for questioning in the killings in unit 116 of the apartments at 2648 W. Ball Road, where Carpenter was believed to have been "in a common law relationship" with the boy's mother, according to Anaheim Police Lt. Eric Trapp.
 

Kwane Carpenter has since been arrested for double homicide.
Kwane Carpenter has since been arrested for double homicide.
Courtesy of Anaheim Police Department

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 22, 5:25 P.M.: A 24-year-old man is a "person of interest" in the slayings of a woman and 6-month-old boy believed to be her son in an Anaheim apartment this afternoon, according to police.

Police Lt. Eric Trapp, the Anaheim department's spokesman, describes Kwane Carpenter as black, 6 feet tall, 150 pounds with short black hair and last seen wearing gray shorts. He's believed to be driving a black 2001 Lincoln Town Car that is not registered to him and has the license plate number is 199901.

Officers were dispatched at 12:10 p.m. to an apartment in the 2600 block of West Ball Road concerning a "felony assault in progress," according to Trapp.

The unidentified victims were stabbed, with the woman in her mid-20s pronounced dead at the scene and the infant passing away at an area hospital.

The investigation continues, and anonymous tips may be left with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters "OCCS".)

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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