January 4, 2005
Shanequa Carpenter was a mother of three. She was only 24-years-old when she was killed. Ernest Bussey has already admitted to the murder and is serving a life sentence. Co-defendant Cardale Gibbons was also charged with Carpenter’s murder. But Gibbons’ trial on Wednesday took a turn when he entered a plea agreement on certain charges.
Leverne Henderson can’t stop thinking about her only child being carried out of a field in a body bag.
“The memory that I still have of them taking her body out of the field when they found her, I still have that memory of seeing that on the news,” Henderson said.
It was June 2004. 24-year-old Shanequa Carpenter went to the store with her two kids. She stopped by the home of Ernest Bussey, a former acquaintance who’s admitted to strangling her, something her children did not see but heard.
“The 4-year-old all he could say is that he heard his momma crying and he tried to open the door,” Henderson said.
After the murder, Bussey recruited Cardale Gibbons and then 15-year-old Abdiel Acevedo to dump and burn the body and get rid of the car and the two kids. The children were later found wandering near a busy stretch of highway.
At Wednesday’s trial of Cardale Gibbons, the family received no answers as to why Shanequa was killed.
“No answers, I haven’t got no answers yet, nobody want to give any,” said Alice Carpenter, Shanequa’s grandmother.
Gibbons originally plead guilty to 10 counts including malice, murder and kidnapping. And while he plead guilty to only three of those counts on Wednesday, he says he is not guilty of murder. He admits to concealing Carpenter’s death and two counts of cruelty to children. Judge Wheale asked why did he help get rid of the body and then burn it.
“I was confused. I didn’t know what to do,” Gibbons said.
In exchange for his signed plea agreement, Judge Wheale sentenced Gibbons to 12 years. And although Shanequa’s family says justice has been served, the pain continues.
“I prayed hard all the time for this. I know it ain’t gone be no closure because as I said we got a life sentence,” Carpenter said.
Ernest Bussey is serving a life sentence for the murder of Shanequa Carpenter. Cardale Gibbons was sentenced to 12 years for his role after the murder. Then 15-year-old Abdiel Acevedo was sentenced in juvenile court. He was in court on Wednesday sitting with the family of Shanequa Carpenter.