COLUMBUS, Ind. — After a gunshot wound did not immediately kill her, a woman was suffocated in what one man claimed was an act of mercy.

Anthony Carter, 45, was formally charged with murder Friday in the death of Ashley E. Neville, 40. Carter was arrested five days earlier when Neville was found in her home with a gunshot wound to the head.

Neville was Carter’s on-again off-again girlfriend, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police were called to do a welfare check at Neville’s home on E. 650 S. after Carter told a family member he had killed her.

Investigators did a quick search of the property but were unable to get inside. They returned to the property a short time later after neighbors said they saw a man in the woods. The man was Anthony Carter, charging documents alleged.

When Carter was taken into custody, he claimed Neville was shot when he grabbed a gun she was holding. But it did not kill her, according to Carter. He claimed he then secured a plastic bag with duct tape around Neville’s head and placed his hand over her mouth to “end her suffering.”

After the confession, police secured a search warrant to Neville’s home and found her body inside, in the condition that Carter described.

An autopsy found Neville suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of her head.

Carter later admitted to police he was in control of the gun the entire time, according to court documents. After the shooting, the gun was thrown into the surrounding woods. Deputies were able to find it after following Carter’s directions of where it would be.

There had been a no-contact order between Carter and Neville filed in February 2022 in Jennings County.

Judge Jim Worton has ordered Carter to be held in custody without bond. A sentence for a murder conviction is anywhere from 45 to 65 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.