The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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January 4, 2014

Arrests in deadly Barberton New Year’s shooting

BARBERTON — Two brothers were arrested Friday and charged in a New Year’s Eve robbery-shooting that left a father and his two children dead in northeast Ohio. Police said the suspects were looking for drugs and money.

The brothers, Michael Hendon, 22, and Eric Hendon, 30, both of Akron, were each charged with three counts of aggravated murder and booked into Summit County Jail, Barberton polices said. The men didn’t appear to have attorneys Friday evening.

Their arrests were announced just hours after John Kohler, 42, died at an Akron Hospital. His children — 18-year-old Ashley Carpenter and 14-year-old David Kohler-Carpenter — died in the shooting, authorities said. John Kohler’s girlfriend, Ronda Blankenship, was shot and remained hospitalized Friday.

The shootings happened at John Kohler’s home, where the teens were visiting their father for New Year’s Eve.

Autopsies released Friday show Ashley Carpenter died of a single gunshot wound to the head; her brother suffered several gunshot wounds to the head.

A family friend told The Akron Beacon Journal that Ashley Carpenter had planned to marry after graduating from Barberton High School this spring, and her brother wanted to follow his sister’s footsteps and play the clarinet in the Barberton High School band after he graduated from Barberton Middle School.

“They were good kids,” said Haleina Pouncey, whose daughter, Tabbie, was best friends with Ashley Carpenter.

“All I know is I’m on my way to the funeral home to make arrangements for my kids, my babies,” their mother, Leiha Carpenter, told WEWS-TV on Thursday. “I have to live the rest of my life without them.”

A vigil was planned for Friday night at Lake Anna Park in Barberton.

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