Dispute over tools, workspace drives trucker to murder

He claims the second shot was in self defense but investigators disagree.

A truck driver accused of murdering another man over the weekend claims the attack was in self defense. 

According to KTVB 7 News, for the last several years, 76-year-old truck driver Ronald Carpenter had been storing his tools and working on his semi truck at a shop on 56-year-old Michael Koch’s property with Koch’s permission. However, at the beginning of 2021, Koch told Carpenter he wanted him off of the property and the two men apparently agreed that Carpenter would come pick up his tools and equipment on Saturday, March 6th. 

Carpenter explained to police that when he arrived at the property on Portner Road in Nampa, Idaho, he found his tools stacked in the driveway and his shop creeper broken in half. Carpenter says he got angry and threw the broken creeper at Koch’s car, and that’s when Koch came running out of his house “in a rage.”

Video recorded by a doorbell camera shows Koch then picking up gravel from the driveway and throwing it at Carpenter’s truck before going over to his own vehicle and grabbing a baseball bat. Koch then struck Carpenter’s truck with the baseball bat before coming towards Carpenter with the bat held over his shoulder. 

Carpenter says he was afraid Koch would attack him with the bat, so he grabbed a firearm from his truck, to which Koch replied “”shoot me, [expletive.]” 

In the video, Koch raises the bat and continues to step towards Carpenter, so Carpenter shoots him, knocking him to the ground. And this is where the discrepancies start. 

According to Carpenter, despite a gunshot wound, Koch was “still ready to swing the bat and was trying to come at” Carpenter, so Carpenter shot him a second time. However, after police reviewed the footage, they determined that they do not believe there was a need for a second shot, as Koch seemed to pose no further threat. 

“The second gunshot was five seconds after the first gunshot,” the detective wrote. “When [Koch] was shot a second time, he was on the ground, did not appear to have a weapon in his hand, and did not appear to be a threat to Carpenter.”

After the incident, Carpenter remained on the scene and cooperated with investigators, who arrived to find Koch dead in the driveway with a baseball bat under his right leg. 

Carpenter is now facing second-degree murder charges and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 22nd. He is currently booked into the Canyon County Jail on $1 Million bond.