One year after a Mississippi man’s shocking murder, his one-time girlfriend and her parents are arrested and charged in his death.
37-year-old Caitlin Spence now faces capital murder charges in the death of 36-year-old Kirby Carpenter, who was shot to death in Tippah County, Mississippi, on Nov. 30, 2022.
Spence’s arrest came exactly one year later, on Nov. 30, 2023, in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. Her parents, Karen and Jeffery Spence, were also arrested in Virginia.
“My knees hit the floor. I was hollering,” Mattie Jones, Carpenter’s mother, told Law&Crime Network. “In our hearts and in ourselves, we know who had done it. But now the world knows.”
In an interview, Jones said she believed Spence was after her son’s bank account.
“What my son had worked for all his life, I think was the motive in this case. They stole a lot of things from the house, including gold and silver. They took a lot of things from the house,” she said.
While he was shot on Nov. 30, Carpenter’s body was not found until several days later outside of his home. Jones says it was Caitlin Spence who first alerted her something was off.
“She called me [and] she first led me to believe that Kirby hadn’t came home overnight. And the more I talked to her, she ended up telling me that he hadn’t been home, actually, for two days. Well, of course, I got really scared because that’s not like Kirby,” Jones said.
After the call, Jones and her husband rushed to Carpenter’s home, only to find his body lying outside.
“It was devastating. It is something that I live with every day, every morning, every night, 24/7,” she says. “It’s always on my mind, it’s never off. It was a day that no mother should ever have to go through.”
In the days leading up to Carpenter’s death, Jones says there were no red flags.
“There was none. Even when investigators went through his phone and everything, there was no arguing that they had,” she says.
The red flags came only after his murder, when Spence made some dramatic choices.
“There was never a tear shed from her,” Jones tells Law&Crime Network. “They started changing the locks on the doors. They changed the locks on all of Kirby’s safes.”
After Carpenter’s funeral, Jones said she reached out to Spence, but hardly heard back. At the time, Spence had custody of Carpenter’s daughter, Enola.
“We would text or whatever and ask her to say a picture of Enola, or ask how she was or whatever. Then all of a sudden she just quit,” Jones says. “As of the last several months? No, we have had no contact … She never would contact us back at any time.”
Jones and her family are now trying to gain custody of Enola.
“We are trying, trying very hard. Yes, I am in the process and I am going to do everything I can to get Kirby’s baby home and teach her the right kind of way to live. I can’t imagine monsters raising my baby. The monsters took my son,” she says.
If and when Jones gains custody of Enola, she says the topic of Carpenter’s death will be difficult to breach.
“That is going to be very touchy. I don’t really know exactly how we’re going to do that. We’re going to raise her to know her dad. We’re going to let him let her know how happy he was to have her,” Jones says. “As far as being able to tell her what happened? That probably can’t even be answered now. It’ll be a long time down the road.”
Even a year after her son’s death, Jones says it’s difficult to understand what happened.
“I cannot comprehend it simply because I don’t have that kind of evil in my heart. I don’t understand how it could even happen, much less a mother and daddy and daughter with a brand new granddaughter. To take that child’s daddy away from her. If you love the child, you’re not going to do that to that baby,” she says.
While Karen and Jeffrey Spence await extradition, Caitlin Spence has already been sent back to Mississippi. All three face capital murder charges.
“In the state of Mississippi, the capital murder charge does carry the death penalty,” Jones explains. “You know, the Bible says an eye for an eye. But I would rather them have to sit in prison until they die.”
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