(Brookville, Ind.) - David Ison appeared in Franklin County Circuit Court Wednesday wearing a bullet proof vest.
The 46-year-old from Fayette County is accused in the murders of the Napier family and their friend, Henry Smith, on Stipps Hill Road in Laurel on Sunday, September 25. Investigators allege the massacre happened after Ison had a disagreement with victim Roy Napier over the price of oxycodone pills Ison was attempting to buy after Napier raised the price of each pill from $10 to $12.
During his initial hearing on the five counts of murder he faces, Ison pleaded not guilty to each. He told the judge he has been treated for mental illness in the past.
Franklin County Prosecutor Mel Wilhelms say the state may seek the death penalty.
Ison is scheduled to be in Franklin Circuit Court again for a pretrial hearing on December 15.
No bond amount was ordered by the Franklin County judge, but Ison remains held on a $5 million bond for an armed robbery at a Ripley County pharmacy.
A woman who Indiana State Police say assisted Ison in the robbery of the G.A. Triplett Pharmacy in Osgood last May was also in court Wednesday.
Amanda Napier – unrelated to the murder victims – allegedly drove Ison to and from the pharmacy holdup. She was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Robbery. A Ripley County judge ordered her held on $50,000 bond Wednesday.
Napier, 34, told investigators she was with Ison when he committed the murders of the Laurel Five. She had stayed in the car while Ison went to buy pills from Roy Napier because Roy’s ex-wife, Angela, thought she was a “snitch.” She said she heard gunshots before Ison returned to the car and they left.
According to the Richmond Palladium-Item, Napier was afraid of Ison. She told her ex-husband and other friends that Ison had threatened to kill her and her children. She said she had also been shot at and pistol whipped by Ison.
Napier gave Indiana State Police much of the information used to charge Ison in interviews following her arrest on the conspiracy charge September 30. She was found driving a car with Ison as the passenger on U.S. 52 in Andersonville on September 28, perhaps on the way to commit another armed robbery in Batesville.
During that stop, Ison was found wearing a disguise consisting of a wig and fake mustache and transporting an assault rifle. He told officers he was in the disguise because he had heard there was a murderer at-large in Franklin County.
After that traffic stop, police obtained a search warrant for the home Ison and Napier lived in on the 6000 block of South County Road West in rural Glenwood, Indiana. Detectives would find in the home one of the murder victims’ cell phone, a pair of wet shoes which matched bloody shoeprints at the murder scene, a t-shirt with blood stained, and a stolen .380 handgun and empty ammunition box which had contained bullets matching the casings found at the scene.