The Laurel Five Killings

On September 25, 2011 on a rural road in Laurel Indiana in Franklin County a four year old child was seen wandering around.  A couple driving down the road picked her up and called the police.  When the police arrived the story the child told led them to a blood bath.  The little girl told them that her mother, grandma, grandpa and uncle were all dead. And by all indications the terrified child had seen it happen.  Although the research did not say for sure I can only guess that most everyone knew who the child was the moment they saw her or arrived.  Laurel is a small town, about an hour southeast of Indianapolis, with only about 500 people. Nearly everyone there is related to each other and if they aren't they have known each other for their lifetime.  

Officers went to the child's home and they did indeed find her mother, Melissa Napier(23), her grandfather, Roy Napier (50), Roy's estranged wife, Angela (47) and their son, Jacob (23) all dead from shotgun wounds.  Outside the property would lay the body of family friend and neighbor, Henry Smith (43).  It seemed that fairly quickly while the officers did not yet know who had committed the crime, the entire town knew why.... drugs.  

You will often hear people in small towns complain about rumors and how everyone is in everyone else's "business."  But, after living in a small town for several years I have also learned that while the above does seem to be true, more times than not those "rumors" are true and often when a crime is committed the entire town knows the story before the story has ended.  

When the crime was first discovered it was unclear if one of the victims was also possibly the perpetrator but that was rather quickly it seems ruled out, or at least not widely believed to be the case.  

Roy Napier lived in the mobile home with his sons, Jacob and Joshua and his daughter Melissa and her child.  Roy and Angela were "estranged" although no real information indicated when this happened or what the issues were.  Her family stated that on that day she was visiting with her children.  Son, Joshua was not home that day and most believe that is the only reason that he remained alive.  Investigators wanted to talk to everyone, but Joshua was high on the list.  Could he have killed his family?  Even friends and neighbors who knew the family and their activities did not believe a family member was involved. Again, everyone was convinced this was about drugs.  

It seems Joshua, and his girlfriend, Sandra McDaniel, were extremely cooperative and honest about the activity in the home.  Joshua was quick to let investigators know that his father sold his prescription Oxycontin to others on a very regular basis.  Henry Smith's family would say that he went to the home nearly every day to buy marijuana.  Sandra would tell them that in August she had been with Joshua, Roy and Angela when they picked up Roy's prescription and had driven somewhere where Roy would sell it to a couple.  She said she only knew the man as being known as "Blondie's son."  Sandra would go on to say that Roy and the man got into an argument because Roy raised the price of the pills by two dollars stating that he had lost his Medicaid.  Investigators would learn that "Blondie" was Bellina Richards and her son was David Ison.  

Officers surely knew who David Ison was.  I have to say that in all the cases in which I have blogged about David has one of the longest criminal histories I have seen.  Indiana has a great Department of Corrections website and lists past crimes and pretty updated information.  I believe the only two people I have seen with a longer list on the site would be Bob and Mark Leonard from the Richmond Hills Explosion case and that is because all of their sixty some charges are listed separately.  In the case of David Ison I had trouble figuring out where he found the time to do all his crimes considering he's spent most of his time in prison dating back to at least 1990.  His criminal history is riddled with burglaries, thefts, armed robberies.  In fact, at the time of these murders he was being investigated for a robbery that had been committed the previous May.  The best that I can figure is that in 1990 he was convicted of armed robbery and while he was there he obtained two more convictions for burglary and one for theft, with him being released sometime in 1996.  Then in October of 1197 he was again convicted two separate times.  Once was for armed robbery and criminal confinement and the second time was for burglary.  The armed robbery earned him a sixteen year sentence but he was released in 2008, well, maybe.  In January of 2008 he was convicted of forgery and received another six year sentence.  Then in April of 2008 he was convicted of six counts of burglary and received two years for each sentence but apparently they ran concurrently because he was released sometime in 2010. Now here it is September of 2011 and he is already being investigated in at least one other burglary.

On September 27, 2011, two days after the murders police went to Ison's home on the pretense of investigating the May robbery at a drug store.  At least that was what they said they were there for. Reality is they were already looking at him for these murders.  Inside the search of his home they would find Michelle Napier's cell phone, wet tennis shoes that had a tread consistent with that found at the murder scene, a bloody shirt, a stolen .380 handgun and an empty box of ammo that also matched shells from the crime scene.  

On that same day a car failed to stop for a stop sign in nearby Andersonville and was pulled over.  The driver was Amanda Napier (no relation surprisingly to the murder victims) and her passenger was none other than David Ison.  Before admitting who he was Ison was asked why he was wearing a wig, make up and a fake mustache.  His answer was he was avoiding a murderer on the loose in Laurel... because yeah, clearly murderders stay away from you when you have a fake mustache.  Oh wait, was that my personality coming out again?  Ison finally admitted who he was and a search of the car found another .380 handgun and an AK-47 inside.  Later Amanda Napier would admit that they on the way to rob a CVS store and then the plan was to take off running.

By the sounds of it, it did not take long before David Ison and Amanda Napier were ratting each other out.  She told what she knew about the murders and he let authorities know that many of the burglaries and robberies they had already, and still trying, to nail him on she had been his "getaway driver."  Amanda would get hers in the end but the murders were more important to the investigators at that moment.

According to Amanda she had gone to the Napier home with him on September 25th although she supposedly did so reluctantly. It appears that she and Angela Napier did not like each other very much. The previous day Ison had told her that he was angry with Roy Napier because the price of the Oxycontin had gone from ten dollars a pill to twelve. Amanda would claim (at least in the beginning) that when they pulled up she heard gunshots but Ison told her to stay in the car that he was going inside. A few minutes later she heard six or seven more gunshots.  Not long after that Amanda says a man walked past her vehicle as she sat there, smiling and nodding at her, headed towards the house.  Within just about a minute Amanda said she saw the man running in the opposite direction and Ison chasing him.  When Ison got back in the car she asked him what all the gunshots were and he acted like he had no idea what she was talking about saying, "What gunshots?"  

As news spread about the murders Amanda said that Ison's mother asked him if he was involved and he told her no.  Yet he later told Amanda that while he did murder those inside, and out apparently, he did so "in self defense" because the Napier's had "planned" to rob him and that both Roy and Jacob Napier had shotguns with them when he walked in.  

By March of 2012 David Ison had pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to five life terms in the Indiana Department of Corrections.  One has to wonder if he was just tired of going in and out and just made sure he stayed in this time.  

In October of 2012 Amanda Napier was charged for her roles in assisting Ison but also in other crimes.  She too pleaded guilty to two Class B felonies of Conspiracy to commit armed robbery and conspiracy to commit dealing in a Schedule II illegal substance.  She received a sentence of twenty years.  The Department of Corrections show her release date as June of 2022.






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