James Carver, charged with the murder of a 33-year-old Wilmington woman last week, had his first court appearance in the case Monday morning in Hillsboro, acknowledging his rights and requesting a court-appointed attorney.
Security was tight at the Highland County Justice Center as Carver, 40, prepared to enter the municipal courtroom. Some 20 people waiting for hearings Monday morning were searched and asked to leave belongings in their vehicles before Carver made his appearance.
During Carver’s brief arraignment, Judge David McKenna said the charge of murder is punishable by 15 years to life in prison. The judge set bond at $500,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Tuesday, March 5. Carver requested a court-appointed attorney.
McKenna said Carver has multiple prior felony convictions in Ohio, Missouri and Florida, and has failed to appear for hearings.
Within a few minutes of Carver entering the courtroom, the hearing concluded with the judge saying, “We’re done.”
Carver will be arraigned Wednesday in Madison Township County Court in Greenfield for a charge of tampering with evidence, according to a court spokesperson.
As previously reported, Carver was arrested on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 21, after a three-day manhunt that took investigators from Greenfield to Dayton.
Carver was being sought as a suspect in the death of Heather Camp, 33, Wilmington, who died from a gunshot wound to the chest on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Adena Greenfield Medical Center in Greenfield.
Dr. Jim McKown, an investigator for the Highland County Coroner’s Office, said Camp was taken to the emergency room by an acquaintance at about 6 a.m. that morning. Officials said a resuscitation attempt was unsuccessful and she died from the wound.
According to McKown, Camp’s body had extensive facial bruising indicating repeated physical trauma in the days leading up to her death.
Numerous Facebook posts during the week indicated Camp and Carver were girlfriend and boyfriend.
Carver was taken into custody without incident at a Dayton residence at 7 p.m. Thursday, according to Collins, and online records show he was booked into the Montgomery County Jail shortly after midnight Friday.
Further records show he was booked into the Highland County jail later in the day.
Carver has a lengthy criminal record, having been convicted of more than 30 offenses in Clinton County and Highland County courts, including aggravated assault, attempted abduction, domestic violence, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, assault and endangering children.
Carver was on parole in Missouri at the time of the killing, according to Barrera.
Booking information from the Montgomery County Jail was apparently incorrect in stating Carver stood at only 5’3”, as the defendant appeared tall and thin in his red jail uniform Monday morning.
Carver’s booking info at the Highland County jail says he is 6’3” and 190 pounds.
Carver has a variety of prominent tattoos on his face and neck as well as other parts of his body, including tribal symbols on the sides of his face, numbers beneath his eyes often associated with white supremacy, and what appears to be the word “anger” across his throat.
As of Wednesday, Feb. 20, a photo appearing on a Facebook account apparently belonging to Carver showed a logo containing a swastika, a skull and guns, as well as the text, “Aryan Strikeforce Combat 18.” That account is no longer available.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Aryan Strikeforce is a white supremacist group with a unit known as Combat 18.
Two tattoos on Carver’s face — the number 14 under one eye and 88 under the other — are often associated with white supremacy, according to an entry in the Anti-Defamation League’s online Hate Symbols Database.
The number 14 is a reference to a popular white supremacist slogan containing 14 words, and the number 88 is an alphanumeric code for HH, standing for “Heil Hitler,” according to the entry.
Anyone with information on the death is urged to contact the Highland County Sheriff’s Office at 937-393-1421, Greenfield Police Department at 937-981-7777 or the Highland County Coroner’s Office at 937-393-6633, or, for anonymous tips, call or text TIP411.
Funeral services for Camp were scheduled for Monday evening.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.