Idaho couple arrested on suspicion of killing man found shot dead in the Yaak

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An Idaho couple was arrested Thursday, Aug. 24 on suspicion of the deliberate homicide of Travis Gillett, found shot to death January in the Yaak.

Ezra Skinner, 28, and Sarah Carpenter Skinner, 27, are being held without bail, according to a news release issued Friday by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, whose detectives worked with Boundary County law enforcement in making the arrests.

Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe said Friday afternoon that Sarah Carpenter Skinner was being held in Lincoln County Jail, while Ezra Skinner was either still in the Boundary County Jail or enroute to the Lincoln County Jail.

On Monday morning, Charity Ginther in the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Ezra Skinner was in Lincoln County Jail.

A court document lists Sarah Louise Carpenter’s mailing address — Ginther said that was her name in January when the case was opened — as the city of Libby. It does not give a street address. Ginther said Monday that she was arrested in Idaho.

According to a police report, Gillett was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence against Sarah Louise Carpenter in Ponderay, Idaho. The report states the two were living together and she was pregnant with Gillett’s child at the time of the arrest. Carpenter told police she was attacked and that Gillett was attempting to kill their unborn child. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disturbing the peace.

Gillett’s probation was under review at the time of his killing, which led to a dismissal of the case, according to Bonner County Magistrate Court records.

Carpenter was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in Bonner County in 2014 and 2015, the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository shows. The court dismissed the charge in the former case, and charges were dismissed upon the state’s motion in the latter.

Ezra Skinner was charged in 2014 with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit in Boundary County, according to the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository. The case was dismissed upon a state’s motion. In 2009, he was charged with felony drug manufacturing and evidence tampering in Boundary County. He pleaded to an amended charge of misdemeanor possession and the evidence tampering charge was dismissed.

Neither Ezra Skinner nor Carpenter have federal criminal records in the states of Idaho or Montana, according to U.S. District Court records.

Authorities believe Gillett, 31, was killed between Jan. 13 and Jan. 16, 2017.

“A former resident of Libby and Troy, Gillett was reported missing from the Sandpoint area on Jan. 16,” the news release states. “He was found dead of gunshot wounds later that day in the upper Yaak.”

The investigation began Jan. 14, when Gillett was reported missing in Bonner County.

At 10:30 a.m. Jan. 16, someone called Lincoln County Dispatch to report that a friend, Gillett, had left Sandpoint, Idaho Jan. 13 with someone from Thompson Falls in a dark blue or green pickup to make a delivery somewhere in the Yaak. The caller said Gillett said they would return sometime the next day. Gillett was then deemed a missing person.

Keith Kinnaird of the Bonner County Daily Bee contributed to this report.

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