A former Marine accused of fatally stabbing his caregiver wife and their infant son made his first court appearance Thursday, two days after he surrendered in an Orange County park pond following a brief pursuit.
Kwame Carpenter could face the death penalty in connection with the slayings of his partner, Moureen Carpenter, and their 6-month-old baby Kyan, which happened in Anaheim Monday. He was captured in a park pond after a pursuit in Fountain Valley Tuesday morning.
Carpenter did not enter a plea to the charges of two counts of murder with special circumstances at his first court hearing Thursday. He is being held without bail, and jail records show he is on suicide watch.
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The district attorney has yet to reveal whether the death sentence will be sought.
The 24-year-old man was in the U.S. Marine Corps for almost two years, and was awarded service medals for global terrorism and national defense for his work as an intelligence specialist. He never rose above the rank of private.
"The character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps' expectations," Marines Core deputy public affairs officer Yvonne Carlock said.
Carpenter had worked as a security guard, but had been unemployed at the time of the attack.
His wife was a nursing student who came to the United States from Kenya as a teenager. She had been working as a caregiver, and her family said she was thrilled to be a new mother.
"Moureen was a girl who lived life. She always had a smile on her face, she was always positive," her brother, Jimmie Guatha Kariuki, said. "We're in pain but what we want to do is remember her… the times we spent with her, the memories she's left us with. Above all our faith in Christ has really helped us."
"She came here, she found family, she found friends and she found people who were doing well and that's what she was aspiring to do," family friend Kimani Patrick said.
Her family is trying to raise money for two burial plots and to bring more relatives here to say goodbye.