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‘Forensic Files’ episode based on Hope murder to air Sunday

Staff Writer | July 28, 2022 1:00 AM

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HOPE — The murder of a former Hope city clerk — and subsequent investigation which brought her killer to justice — will be the focus of an episode of “Forensic Files II” on HLN this weekend.

Shirley Ramey, then age 79, was found murdered in her home in 2017. She had been shot twice, and the initial investigation went cold.

It wasn’t until 2019 that authorities were able to identify her killer. The case was cracked open thanks to forensic investigations and a ballistics database. Two 9-mm shell casings recovered from the scene were entered into the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives’ National Integrated Ballistics Information Network. The network, which allows for the high-definition capture and comparison of ballistic evidence, found a match.

“For over two years, the case remained unsolved,” Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler wrote in a Facebook post announcing the episode. “However, in August 2019, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Judith Carpenter, [then] age 57, of Coeur d’Alene, for Shirley Ramey’s murder.”

Carpenter had been pulled over later the same day as Ramey’s murder in Montana in an alleged road rage case. A Glock and a .308 Savage Model 99 lever-action rifle were seized and sat in storage until 2019. The .308 rifle matched the make and model of one that had gone missing from the Ramey residence the day of the murder.

Then, a federal investigator asked that the Glock be test fired. The two 9mm casings found at the scene matched Carpenter's Glock after sheriff’s officials in Lincoln County, Montana test fired the weapon.

That led to Carpenter’s arrest for Ramey’s murder. Judith Carpenter was convicted for Ramey’s murder and was sentenced to 15 years. She plead guilty with an Alford plea, which is when the defendant does not admit guilt, per se, but acknowledges that the evidence against them is overwhelming.

Wheeler encouraged the public to tune in “this Sunday, July 31st, 2022, @ 10:30 PM (EST/PST) for the new season premiere of Forensic Files II on HLN,” which will show how investigators were able to finally solve the case.