New court docs give narrative in Highland County murder


Editor’s note — The following story contains graphic depictions of violence that some may find offensive. Reader discretion is advised.

A court document filed Tuesday in the case against James Carver, a New Vienna man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend in February, alleges that he repeatedly beat her, shot her in the chest at close range, had sex with her as she was bleeding out, and refused to take her to the hospital.

Heather Camp, 33, Wilmington, died nearly two days after she was shot, according to a bill of particulars filed Tuesday by the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office. Carver was arrested three days later.

The bill says Carver, 40, admitted to beating her, shooting her and having sex with her, although he maintained that the shooting was accidental as he was aiming the gun at her to intimidate her.

Carver is charged with murder, rape, having weapons under disability, domestic violence and tampering with evidence.

The following narrative is generated from information in the five-page bill of particulars, a document that details why each charge was filed. Until a jury considers the evidence or Carver enters a plea, the allegations in the narrative remain nothing more than allegations. Carver is innocent until proven guilty.

Begin narrative:

It is Sunday, Feb. 17.

Tyler Lawrence drives Heather Camp to El Dorado in Wilmington to meet James Carver. Carver and Camp meet, then go to Carver’s camper at 6485 McVey Rd. in Highland County. While there, Carver repeatedly beats Camp, accusing her of having a sexual relationship with another man.

Carver contacts Roy Dunihue in nearby Highland, inquiring about getting a gun from him. As darkness falls, Carver goes to Dunihue’s house and gets the gun, a .22 caliber Ruger pistol.

He returns to Camp, now in a Chevy Trailblazer, and shoots her in the chest at close range, causing burns and abrasions around the bullet wound itself. The round enters front to back, downward and slightly to the left, piercing the diaphragm, liver, esophagus, thoracic aorta and thoracic spine. There is no exit wound.

Carver puts the gun in Dunihue’s truck, where Dunihue finds it several days later. Carver texts Dunihue saying he has shot two people with the gun. Dunihue drives the gun to an associate’s home in Fayette County, where he hides it in a dryer in a barn. He later takes detectives to the barn to retrieve the gun, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation finds it consistent with the bullet in Camp’s body.

Shortly after the shooting, Carver and Camp return to the camper on McVey Road and Carver helps Camp inside. He then has sex with her, after which she attempts to use the bathroom, but collapses because she cannot walk.

At some point, Carver changes Camp’s clothes and places the bloodied garments in a bag.

The following day, Monday, Feb. 18, Camp’s mother messages Carver asking about Camp, and Carver says Camp is fine. Later in the afternoon, Camp’s mother checks in again, this time asking Carver to have Camp call her. Carver responds saying Camp will not listen to him.

That evening, Carver and Camp go to Frisch’s in Hillsboro, ordering food at the drive thru. Camp does not eat. Frisch’s misses an item in the order, so Carver and Camp go to Burger King.

The two then drive to Robert and Kali Kinnison’s home in Greenfield. Camp asks to go to the hospital, saying that she does not want to die. At one point, Mandy Knisley comes to the home, urging others to take Camp to the hospital.

Robert Kinnison and Carver carry Camp to the car so Knisley will leave the home, then Carver slaps Camp in the face, saying, “Straighten up (expletive), you ain’t going to the hospital.”

At 4:59 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, Carver begins messaging a female acquaintance identified as CG, saying he needs her.

At 5:11 a.m., Kinnison drives Camp to the Adena Greenfield Medical Center and drops her off, running from the building because Carver remains at Kinnison’s home with Kinnison’s wife and children.

At 11:48 a.m., Carver picks CG up in New Vienna and the two leave the area.

As Carver is on the run, he periodically turns on Camp’s phone to check its voicemail box, then turns it back off. At some point, he cleans out the Trailblazer to remove evidence. He also deletes his Facebook account.

Tyler Lawrence is able to identify Kinnison from surveillance footage at the hospital, and gives law enforcement Carver’s address.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, deputies execute a search warrant at Carver’s camper, finding Camp’s identifying information, blood throughout the home, clothes Camp was wearing when she was shot, and .22 ammunition.

Sgt. Brian McNeil of the Greenfield Police Department serves a search warrant at the Kinnison home, recovering a spent shell casing and blood, which the Kinnisons say is Camp’s.

Kali Kinnison says she recovered the spent shell from Carver’s Trailblazer and hid it in the apartment.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, a license plate reader hits on Carver’s Trailblazer in Dayton. The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force locates the car in a parking lot on East Third Street in the city, where a nearby residence is occupied by Erin Back.

As officers watch the home, CG exits and is immediately taken into custody. Minutes later, Carver exits the home and runs to a car driven by Michael Hornscheimer, yelling at Hornscheimer to go.

Carver is arrested.

During a search of the home, deputies find boots belonging to Carver with Camp’s blood on them, which Carver has placed in a trash can.

In law enforcement interviews, Carver admits that he shot Camp, but says it was an accident, adding that he pointed the gun at her to scare her. He also admits to hitting her several times before shooting her, and having sex with her after the shooting.

End narrative.

As previously reported by The Times-Gazette, Camp died from the gunshot wound. Authorities hunted Carver for three days, at one point searching for him in the Waynesville area.

After his arrest, Carver was first charged in Hillsboro Municipal Court and Madison Township County Court, and his charges were later bound over for consideration by a grand jury.

He was indicted April 2.

At his first pretrial hearing last week, Carver requested a lie detector test, which Judge Rocky Coss said is inadmissible as evidence unless prosecution and defense agree it’s appropriate.

Carver remains incarcerated at the Highland County Jail as he awaits further hearings.

A jury trial is scheduled for June 26.

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 is shown in Hillsboro Municipal Court shortly after being charged with the murder of Heather Camp. Carver is shown in Hillsboro Municipal Court shortly after being charged with the murder of Heather Camp. Times-Gazette file photo
Prosecutors: Carver had sex with victim after shooting her

By David Wright

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