Some Notorious Murderers From The Area

November 26, 2013
By

David Ison pleaded guilty to the September 2011 murder of five people in Laurel.

David Ison pleaded guilty to the September 2011 murder of five people in Laurel.

The Indianapolis Star released an article about some of the most notorious murderers in state history on Monday afternoon.

It just so happens that five of the 20 stories documented in the article occurred in or has a connection to Southeast Indiana.

The well-known killers were responsible for the deaths of at least four people in each instance:

The Hanging Tree Murders- 1897

Just after midnight on September 15, several men that were part of lynch mob broke into the Ripley County Jail. They beat and dragged five inmates that were part of a gang out of the jail to an elm tree two blocks away. Three of the men may have been killed in their jail cells.

The mob carried out the act because the gang of inmates reportedly caused terror to the community.

According to area historians, all five men were hanged on the same tree, with only one found to have actually died of strangulation. After questioning witnesses, who all supplied alibis for each other, the case was closed and no person was ever charged.

Five Murdered In Lawrenceburg- 1941

Virginius Carter, 33, confessed to murdering five people at a farmhouse that belonged to Johnson Agrue in Lawrenceburg in May 1941.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Carter was responsible for killing Agrue and his wife, Nina Agrue, their two children, William and Leo, and granddaughter Mary Breeden.

Carter was sentenced to death for the crime.

Five Relatives Gunned Down in Napoleon- 1993

An August 24 murder of five family members captured headlines throughout the Midwest in 1993. George Hardebeck was 31-years-old when he shot his mother, Martha Hardebeck, 73; brothers, James, 40 and Marlin, 33; his sister, Betty Powers, 42, and her husband Virgil Powers, 54 in Napoleon.

Hardebeck pleaded guilty but mentally ill and was sentenced to 240 years behind bars.

Man Murders Seymour Woman, Three Others -1998

Robert Bassett Jr. was sentenced in 2006 to four lifetime prison sentences in the 1998 killings of Seymour resident Jamie Engelking, 20; her two children, Jessica Brown, 2, and Brandon Engelking, 1; and family friend Amanda Davis, 12.

The victims were last seen alive during a camping trip in Bartholomew County in 1998. They were later found in shallow graves along the nearby White River.

In 2003, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned Bassett’s first murder convictions trial, however, a Dearborn County jury convicted him in a retrial.

The Laurel Five Murders- 2011

A story that many of us will not forget anytime soon.

Five people were gunned down on Stipps Hill Road near Laurel in Franklin County on September 25, 2011.

David Ison, 46, of Glenwood, was arrested three days later and eventually charged for the deaths of Roy Napier, 50, his estranged wife, Angela, 47; their children, Melissa, 23, and Jacob, 18, and neighbor, Henry X. Smith, 43.

Prosecutors believe Ison was upset because the price of prescription pills he was attempting to purchase went up. Ison pleaded guilty to five counts of murder and will spend the rest of his life in jail.

 

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