$1M bond posted for John Carter, suspect in Katelyn Markham death case

Suspect scheduled to be back in court Tuesday for pretrial hearing.

A $1 million surety bond was posted Monday for John Carter, charged with murder in the death of his fiancée Katelyn Markham, according to court records and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

Carter, who was arraigned March 27 for murder in Butler County Common Pleas Court, is awaiting set up of a GPS monitoring system before being released, which as ordered by Judge Dan Haughey if bond was posted.

He is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday afternoon for a pretrial hearing.

Carter was Markham’s fiancé in 2011 when he reported her missing from her Fairfield townhouse.

It took 12 years of investigation by multiple police agencies before the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office arrested Carter, 34, on March 22 in Markham’s death. Her remains were found in Indiana in 2013.

As part of last week’s bond hearing, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser revealed new details about the case, stating there is evidence of trauma to the victim’s body, and said it may have been moved.

Defense attorney Chris Pagan entered a not guilty plea on Carter’s behalf and requested a “reasonable” bond with a 10 percent rule.

Dave Markham and Ally Markham, Katelyn’s father and younger sister, sat in the front row of the courtroom. Many supporters present wore butterflies in remembrance of the free-spirited art student.

Gmoser bolstered the need for high bond with review of some evidence in the case, including an anthropologist’s report that indicates there was “sharp instrumental trauma” to Katelyn Markham’s left wrist. He also mentioned the Indiana location where her remains were found are not where they were originally placed.

A recent search of the residence where Carter was living in 2011 turned up a folder of his writings, Gmoser said. They were not dated, but Carter’s name was on the binder, Gmoser said.

The prosecutor read portions of the writings in court that are dark and talk about death.

One read in court that Carter allegedly wrote, said, “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. No. Yes. How do you talk me into all these things. I am just that good.”

Gmoser read another passage, “I slit your wrists with a key to your heart.”

Then the prosecutor referenced the anthropologist’s report, stating there were three or four sharp force wounds to Katelyn’s left wrist.

Gmoser said the writings show the “struggle of the demon within” Carter.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

In a third passage read by Gmoser, Carter allegedly wrote, “I know I will bury the body in the backyard, no I’ll bury it under the trailer and wait until the grass grows over it and leave before anyone reports it missing. Yes, that’s a great idea.”

Gmoser then told the judge the evidence is that Katelyn Markham’s remains were found years after she disappeared “in a bag 30 miles from her residence.”

“This body was meant to disappear and never to be found,” Gmoser said. He again referred to the anthropologist’s report, stating, “the place where the body was ultimately found was probably not the place where the body was first deposited.”

Pagan and Carter’s defense team, including attorneys Jacob Long and Lawrence Hawkins III, had no comment after the hearing. Carter’s mother left with them and declined comment.

Carter is charged with two counts of murder under two sections of the law. The prosecution is not alleging Carter is responsible for two deaths.

According to the grand jury indictment from March 13 that was unsealed day later, one count is for the alleged purposeful killing, and the other is allegedly killing a person while committing a felony.

Markham, an art student, was close to her 22nd birthday when she vanished in August 2011. Her skeletal remains were found April 7, 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 not been determined, and remained unsolved until last month’s arrest.

Markham’s disappearance was treated as a missing person case by Fairfield police when she vanished from her Dorshire Drive residence. She did not show up for work at David’s Bridal near Tri-County Mall.

Carter, 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 fiancée is missing, and I can’t find her anywhere.”

He pointed to an annual Fairfield festival as a possible connection.

“The Sacred Heart Festival is going on right up the street and there’s lots of questionable people there and it’s just kind of — I’m sorry,” says a person who identifies himself as Carter on the recording.

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. Aug. 14, 2011. The GPS device on her phone also was turned off.

Police and volunteers searched for months and then years for the missing woman.

When the skeletal remains were found in 2013, in a remote wooded area in Cedar Grove, Ind., within days, confirmation came that the remains were Markham’s.

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