Jennings man arrested on murder charge

A 50-year-old Jennings County man faces charges of murder and reckless homicide in connection with the shooting death of a man late Friday.

Kelly Smith of North Vernon was booked into the Jennings County Jail on those charges along with a charge of aggravated battery at 5:50 a.m. Saturday.

Smith told police he shot Carl McMurtrey, 40, of North Vernon one time in the pelvic area during an argument the two had Friday night at Smith’s home in the Queensville area between North Vernon and Scipio, Lt. Mike Mowery said.

McMurtrey was treated at the scene by Rescue 20 personnel and others before being taken to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital in North Vernon, where he later died, said Mowery, who is the public information officer with the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

He said the argument stemmed from an incident that began Thursday or early Friday morning after police went to Smith’s home at 4485 N. County Road 350W to search for McMurtrey, who was wanted on a warrant.

“We had information he was living with Smith,” Mowery said.

Smith told police McMurtrey, who lived in a detached garage at Smith’s home, was not there at the time, Mowery said.

“He (Smith) was cooperative with police,” he said.

Sometime after that visit, Smith told McMurtrey he could no longer live in the garage and would have to leave, Mowery said.

On Friday night, Mowery said Smith told dispatchers McMurtrey returned to the home and was told to leave.

McMurtrey, however, would not leave, and Smith said he went to another room, got a .357 magnum and came back and told McMurtrey to leave again and shot him in the pelvic area when he refused to leave.

Smith told dispatchers, who received his call at 11:50 p.m., that he then applied pressure to McMurtrey’s wound to stop the bleeding.

Another roommate, Tanner Cornett, 20, also came down and tried to help stop the bleeding along with Smith’s girlfriend, Ariana B. Carpenter, 43, who had returned home shortly after the shooting.

During the investigation, police also arrested Cornett on charge of possession of a syringe, while Carpenter was arrested for violation of the Legend Drug Act and possession of paraphernalia.

County officers Garrett Hoppock, Drew Heilers and Sgt. Allen Ritchie along with state Trooper David Owsley were among the first to arrive at Smith’s home and were later joined by Sheriff Gary Driver and detective sergeants Jeff Jones and Jim Blevins. Mowery and Col. Jeff Day, the chief deputy, also assisted with the investigation.

Mowery said police were able to recover the handgun, and an autopsy is planned.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.