A Fairview man has been sentenced to life without parole for the 2015 stabbing death of an elderly woman.

Following approximately 45 minutes of deliberation, a jury found Jimmy Dean Carpenter, 56, guilty of first degree murder, Friday morning. Judge Kelly Mims handed down the sentence.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections transported Carpenter to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman later that day.

Carpenter’s trial was shorter than anticipated. Jury selection for the trial began Monday morning and opening statements were held later that day. The prosecution rested on Wednesday afternoon, followed by the defense on Thursday. Closing statements were held early Friday morning.

Court officials initially believed the trial might extend into the following week.

Carpenter has been housed in Itawamba County Jail since his arrest on Aug. 27, 2015. He was charged in connection with the murder of 65-year-old Sharon Johnson, who was found stabbed to death in her home on Mt. Gilead Road in Fairview. Carpenter was Johnson’s caregiver.

Itawamba County law enforcement officials say Carpenter was found in the woods behind the house at approximately just 45 minutes after authorities received the initial call to respond to Johnson’s home. Authorities were alerted to the victim’s home after a panic alarm was set off inside the house.

Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson told The Times in 2015 that investigators overheard Carpenter talking to himself, alerting them to his presence. He allegedly had wounds on his hands and blood on his clothing.

The sheriff said investigators recovered a kitchen knife they believed to be the murder weapon.

adam.armour@journalinc.com

Twitter: @admarmr

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