If convicted, the defendant could get 325 years in prison
Ison pleads not guilty to multiple murders

Wanda English Burnett

Ripley County inmate David Ison was arraigned Wednesday, September 12 on five murder charges in Franklin County. He was incarcerated in the Ripley County Jail for another charge, where he was being held on a $5M bail for attempting to rob the G.A. Triplett and Son Pharmacy on May 9, 2011

Ison was taken by state police officers about 1 p.m. to Franklin County to be arraigned on the murder charges. The charges stem from the shootings of five Laurel residents: Roy, Angela, Melissa and Jacob Napier along with Henry Smith on September 25.

The defendant said he didn’t commit the murders and a not guilty plea was entered at the initial hearing. A pretrial hearing has been set for December 15 at 1 p.m. in Franklin County.

Court records allege that Ison had been buying prescription pills from Roy Napier. When Roy raised his prices $2 per pill, that is allegedly when Ison shot him and his family members, along with a neighbor.

In Franklin County Court, Prosecutor Mel Wilhelm informed Ison of possibly spending up to 325 years in prison if he is convicted on the murders. The prosecutor said the defendant’s demeanor was “stoic”. Wilhelm said, “He listened to it, he understood it, that was it, not much emotion.”

There was heavy security as Ison was transported from one jail to another and the hearing that took place around 2:45 p.m. was short and not publicized.

There was no bond set for Ison on the murder charges. It was reported that the victim’s family wants the prosecutor to seek the death penalty in this case. Ison was appointed a public defender, Herbert Branstetter to represent him.

Ison is now incarcerated in the Franklin County Jail, which is what Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills had hoped for. He said earlier that Ison’s alleged accomplice in the drug store attempted robbery, Amanda Napier, is now being held at the Decatur County Jail, but if Ison was moved to Franklin County, then Napier would be housed in Ripley County. He said they needed to keep the two inmates separated and even though women and men are not housed together, there are still ways inmates can figure out how to communicate, according to the sheriff.