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 Jessica Lynne Carpenter

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Jessica Lynne Carpenter

  • Birth 9 Jul 1983 Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 4 Aug 2000 Aiken, Aiken County, South Carolina, USA
  • Burial Graniteville, Aiken County, South Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 81638229

Jessica Lynne Carpenter, 17, of Aiken, South Carolina, died Friday, August 4, 2000 at her residence.

Jessica, a native of Waukegan, IL., was employed at Red Lobster. She was a rising senior at Aiken High School, where she played first-chaired baritone sax in the band. She attended Millbrook Baptist Church.

Survivors include her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Carpenter; two sisters, Heather A. Kirby of Columbia S.C., and Amy C. Carpenter, Aiken S.C., and her paternal grandmother Virgie Carpenter of Zion, IL.

The funeral will be at 2:00 P.m. Tuesday at Millbrook Baptist Church with Rev. Charles Byrd and Dr. Eddie Lepord officiating. Burial will be in Sunset Memory Gardens.

Pallbearers will be Daniel Vetsch, Christian Schaumann, Patrick Houston, Andy Lybrand, Thomas Meyers, Michael Myers, Shane Drawdy and Bradley Kirby.

Honorary pallbearers will be members of Aiken High School Band.

A scholarship fund has been created in Jessica Carpenter's memory. Anyone wishing to make contributions to the Jessica Lynne Carpenter Memorial Scholarship Fund should make a check payable to "Aiken Partnership" and sent it to:

USC Aiken Partnership
c/o USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, S.C. 29801

Cause of Death: Sharp Force Trauma

Created by: James Seidelman
Record added: Sep 15, 2000


December 6, 2011: Details about the August 2000 rape and murder of 17-year-old Jessica Carpenter, the agony her family suffered and the paralysis the community endured while investigators painstakingly sought out her killer have been documented as part of an episode of the Discovery Channel's "Cold Blood."

The family of slain Aiken teenager Jessica Carpenter spent last week with a Discovery Channel production crew recounting details of the 17-year-old girl's life, brutal 2000 murder and the criminal proceedings that eventually led to the arrest and conviction of an Airborne Express delivery man.

She was killed 11 years ago on August 4, 2000.

Jessica Carpenter's mother, Judy Carpenter, said the family agreed to meet with the Discovery Channel crew knowing the interviews would be difficult.

"It kind of re-opened everything from 11 years ago ...," Carpenter said. "It was hard and difficult at times, but I think it will be a good thing to keep the public aware of predators that are out there among us."

Jessica Carpenter's murderer, Robert F. Atkins, now 40, was arrested more than two years after the teenager was found dead in her home. Investigators matched DNA evidence collected at the crime scene with Atkins' DNA, who was arrested in Georgia for an unrelated crime.

Other than to answer questions from those who ask, Judy Carpenter said she doesn't think about Atkins.

"Since we have closure and he has been sentenced, I have moved on," she said.

What was eye-opening for Judy Carpenter during the interview process was watching as her family talked with the show's producers.

She said she listened as her daughters, women now in their 30s, reflected on the tragedy.

"I found it very interesting to listen to what they really thought about their sister and how important she was to them, and how (her death) changed their lives," she said.

Judy Carpenter has remained in the Aiken area, but her daughters have both moved elsewhere in the state. Still, the family gathers to honor Jessica's memory on the anniversary of her death and her July 9 birthday.

"She would have been 28," she said.

The Discovery Channel talked with Judy, Jessica's father and her two sisters individually and as a group.

"We worked through this together," she said. "We all got to voice our sides and opinions."

Judy Carpenter said she was surprised at what she had forgotten and intentionally blocked out.

"That has been part of my healing process," she said.

Television crews talked with Aiken Public Safety investigators, Aiken County's current Chief Deputy Dwayne Courtney, who investigated the case, and others in the community during their stay.

Public Safety Capt. Ray Scott said the crews spent hours at the police department.

"Honestly, it was tough," he said. "I found myself choking up at times."

Both Scott and Judy Carpenter say they eagerly anticipate the show's airing.

"I hope they watch it but also remember Jessica as she was," Carpenter said. "She was fun-loving, bubbly, energetic and beautiful."

Producers told police the show may air in November.

Jessica is survived by her parents and two sisters.

Case Timeline

August 4, 2000- Jessica Carpenter is found dead in her Crosland Park home.

AUG. 19, 2002: SLED matches Robert Atikins' DNA to DNA found at crime scene

AUG. 30, 2002: Aiken Public Safety announces Atkins' arrest.

May 2006: Atkins pleaded guilty to Carpenter's murder and was sentenced to life in a South Carolina prison.

Created by: Karen Lambert
Record added: Dec 6, 2011

  • Created by: Karen J Lambert
  • Added: 6 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 81638229
  • Karen J Lambert
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jessica Lynne Carpenter (9 Jul 1983–4 Aug 2000), Find A Grave Memorial no. 81638229, citing Sunset Memory Gardens, Graniteville, Aiken County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Karen J Lambert (contributor 46932726) .