Highland County murder suspect wants polygraph


A man accused of killing a Wilmington woman made his first appearance in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, requesting a polygraph test and waiving his right to have a jury trial within 90 days of his arrest.

James Carver, 40, New Vienna, sent a letter to Judge Rocky Coss requesting a lie detector test, according to the judge. During Carver’s first pretrial hearing Wednesday, Coss told the defendant that polygraphs cannot be admitted as evidence unless prosecution and defense agree that one be administered.

Still, Coss said, if Carver passed a polygraph test, the case against him would not be dismissed and it would still be up to the jury to determine his guilt.

Coss declined to release the letter, according to a court spokesman.

During the hearing, Carver also waived his right to a speedy trial, effectively removing a 90-day window for a jury trial to take place after his initial arrest.

Carver’s attorneys, J.D. Wagoner and Bill Armintrout, said they expect to file a number of motions in the case.

Coss asked Carver’s attorneys if they wanted to request a mental evaluation for Carver, and Armintrout said they did not. Carver confirmed that he understood the court proceedings.

Carver is accused of raping and murdering Heather Camp, 33, Wilmington, on Feb. 17 in the New Vienna area, according to court documents.

As previously reported, he was indicted April 2 for murder, an unclassified felony, with a specification that he displayed, brandished, indicated possession of or used a firearm; rape, a first-degree felony; having weapons under disability; domestic violence; and tampering with evidence, each a third-degree felony.

Carver was arrested on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 21, after a three-day manhunt that took investigators from Greenfield to Dayton.

Carver was being sought as a suspect in the death of Camp, who died from a gunshot wound to the chest on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Adena Greenfield Medical Center in Greenfield.

Dr. Jim McKown, an investigator for the Highland County Coroner’s Office, said Camp was taken to the emergency room by an acquaintance at about 6 a.m. that morning. Officials said a resuscitation attempt was unsuccessful and she died from the wound.

According to McKown, Camp’s body had extensive facial bruising indicating repeated physical trauma in the days leading up to her death.

According to the indictment, Carver allegedly raped and murdered Camp on Feb. 17.

Numerous Facebook posts indicated Camp and Carver were girlfriend and boyfriend.

Carver was taken into custody without incident at a Dayton residence on the evening of Feb. 21, officials said.

A tampering charge filed against Carver by the Greenfield Police Department alleges that he moved a blood-stained bra and shirt from a Greenfield residence knowing a criminal investigation was to come.

According to a law enforcement affidavit, two witnesses told police that Carver brought Camp to their home on South Seventh Street in Greenfield at approximately 8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Witnesses said Carver brought in a women’s tote and a pink gym bag, according to the affidavit, and when police later executed a search warrant at a known residence of Carver on McVey Road, they found the bags containing a blood-stained bra and a blood-stained shirt with a small hole in the chest area.

Carver has a lengthy criminal record, having been convicted of more than 30 offenses in Clinton County and Highland County courts, including aggravated assault, attempted abduction, domestic violence, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, assault and endangering children.

Carver was on parole in Missouri at the time of the killing, according to Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.

James Carver, right, walks to the Highland County Courthouse on Wednesday. He is accompanied by Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton, left, and Sgt. Craig Seaman, center, both of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2019/04/web1_f-james-carver-perp-walk.jpgJames Carver, right, walks to the Highland County Courthouse on Wednesday. He is accompanied by Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton, left, and Sgt. Craig Seaman, center, both of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office. David Wright | The Times-Gazette
Murder suspect waives speedy trial rights

By David Wright

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