Hundreds mourn Barberton teens killed in home invasion

BARBERTON -- Hundreds of friends, family members and community members joined to celebrate the lives of two Barberton teens killed in a New Year's Eve home invasion.

Funerals for 18-year-old Ashley Carpenter and her 14-year-old brother, David Carpenter-Kohler, were held at the Apostolic Church on Turkeyfoot Lake Road Wednesday night.

"They were good kids. They didn't do anything other than what kids are supposed to do," said family friend Haleina Pouncey.

The teens died from gunshot wounds after a home invasion on New Year's Eve. Their father, John Kohler, 42, died from his injuries three days later.

Kohler's girlfriend, Ronda Blankenship, was also shot and was the only survivor.

Mourners say for David and Ashley, the school band was life.

"David was dedicated to the band and would do anything to help anyone," said his middle school band director, Celeste Wagner.

"(Ashley will) be greatly missed from our band room. She'll be greatly missed from the high school, but I also know, and I'm secure in knowing, that she will forever live in our hearts," said Barberton's Director of Bands Dan Fleischaker.

More than three dozen band members performed the school's alma mater as a special tribute at the start of the funeral service.

Friends say the hundreds of mourners will help support the teens' mother, Leiha Carpenter, who is devastated by grief.

"I'm just glad that everybody was here to show Leiha. It's not just me telling her that her kids were great. Everybody believes that her kids were good," said Pouncey.

Funeral services will be held Thursday for John Kohler at Victory Chapel in Akron. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m., which the service to follow at 32 W. Bellisle Drive.

The suspects, brothers Michael and Eric Hendon, remain in the Summit County Jail each on $10 million dollars bond and are expected in court again Jan. 24.


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