Long Prairie murderer commits suicide in prison

Associated Press

ST. CLOUD -- Jonathan Carpenter, who pleaded guilty last month to three killings in Long Prairie and had confessed to two in Minneapolis, apparently committed suicide in his prison cell, authorities said today.

Officials at the state prison in St. Cloud told the Sherburne County sheriff's office that Carpenter hanged himself in his cell Thursday night and efforts to revive him failed.

Guards conducting their regular rounds around 10:30 p.m. and 10:55 p.m. saw Carpenter writing something. Around 11:20 p.m. they found him hanging from bed linens tied to the bars of his cell, Anderson said.

"A suicide note was found in the cell and all indications from the ongoing investigation into Carpenter's death point to suicide," Anderson said.


His mother, Sandra Carpenter, said he had been depressed and couldn't live with what he did.

Jonathan Carpenter, 21, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to three life terms without parole for the April 28 killings of Holly Chromey, 49, and her children, Katie Zapzalka, 18, and Jerrod Zapzalka, 16. Carpenter said he and Christopher Earl, 20, of Brooklyn Park, broke into their Long Prairie home at random.

Sandra Carpenter, of Brooklyn Park, said she learned her son had died at 2 a.m.

"It's been a very horrendous three months," she said. "I talked to my son on Tuesday night and he couldn't live with what he did. He had a great sorrow for the people and his family."

She said her son pleaded guilty to the killings because he didn't want the victims' family or his own to suffer more than they already had.

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