More than five years after the death of hotel clerk Wendy Cartledge-Carter, her alleged shooter, Cobey Wade Lakemper, is scheduled to face a Newton County jury in a death penalty trial.
On Aug. 3, 2005, Lakemper, 33, of Sedalia, Mo., allegedly began a violent, multi-state crime spree that left three people dead.
It began at the Clarion Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., where he allegedly robbed a hotel clerk. On Aug. 7, he allegedly murdered an elderly North Carolina couple, William Dennis Covington, 72, and his wife, Joyce, 65, in their home.
Eleven days later, Lakemper was registered at the Comfort Inn on Ga. Highway 142 where Cartledge-Carter had been a clerk for four years. She was shot on her 41st birthday and identified her shooter as Lakemper.In a statement, Cartledge-Carter said that she remembered Lakemper because she and another clerk had a discussion when they saw him about how handsome they thought he was.
When detectives entered Lakemper’s room, they found a note that said, "I heard you guys coming, I had to leave." It was reportedly signed "Cobey."
He was arrested in a bar in Jackson, Tenn., on Aug. 24, 2005, after someone recognized him from the America’s Most Wanted website. The gun used in Cartledge-Carter’s shooting was recovered when members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service arrested him without incident.
He was transported to Stokes County, N.C., where the Covingtons were killed and stayed there until November 2005 when he was indicted and the District Attorney there announced they would seek the death penalty against him.
On Dec. 4, 2006, he was booked into the Newton County Detention Center and charged with felony murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, aggravated battery and possession of arms by a convicted felon. The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in the case.
Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin on March 7 in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn.