The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating a Monday morning homicide in Pulaski County.
According to court documents, Pulaski County 911 received a call at 6:43 a.m. on July 15 reporting a shooting at the Alpine Haus motel in St. Robert. The caller reported seeing four people in a black four-door vehicle at the scene.
When St. Robert police arrived on the scene they found 33-year-old Laila Carpenter dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
An investigation of the scene at 632 Old Route 66 turned up the Carpenter's cell phone and several spent shell casings.
According to court douments, during an interview with authorities; 29-year-old Charles Howard said he had been involved in an ongoing dispute between his family, Carpenter and 32-year-old Brian Haggard.
Howard said the dispute involved verbal threats and the exchange of threatening text messages. Messages on Carpenter's cell phone and witness statements confirm an escalating dispute.
Court documents say that Howard admitted that he and three other people went to Alpine Haus with the intention of settling the dispute. Howard identified the other three people as 26-year-old Jeffrey Berkshire, 49-year-old Anthony West and 43-year-old Libby Charles.
Witnesses told authorities that two days before the homicide Berkshire traded narcotics for a nine millimeter handgun.
Court documents say that on the morning of July 15, West drove his black Ford Explorer to a parking lot near the Alpine Haus. Berkshire then gave the gun to Howard.
The Pulaski County Sheriff says at around 6:45 a.m. Howard fired several shots toward Carpenter and Haggard as they were outside Carpenter's motel room.
The two attempted to take cover inside the room but one of the shots hit and fatally wounded Carpenter.
Howard told authorities that after the shooting all four returned to West's car, but the vehicle wouldn't start. Howard and Berkshire fled the scene on foot and West and Charles stayed at the car.
Once West and Charles got the car started, they picked up Berkshire and Howard.
Investigation revealed that a three-month old child was in the room at the time, as was the child's mother.
On July 17, Berkshire led authorities to the location where he was picked up and the handgun was recovered under a log.
Howard has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, first-degree assault and endagering the welfare of the child. Court documents say the last charge is for firing a gun in a room where a child was sleeping. Howard is in custody at the Pulaski County Jail.
Charles has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree assault. She is in custody at the Pulaski County Jail.
West has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Berkshire has been charged with drug-related offenses.