Fargo factory shooter ended 'bright future' when he killed pregnant woman and fiance, family says

Anthony Reese Jr. was sentenced to life without parole for fatally shooting Richard Pittman and April Carbone. Carbone was eight months pregnant with a girl she and Pittman planned to name Layla.

Anthony Reese arrives Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Cass County District Court in Fargo, for his sentencing for killing two coworkers, including one who was pregnant, at a Fargo plastics factory.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

FARGO — After a coworker gunned down Richard Pittman and his pregnant fiancee April Carbone in a Fargo factory, Pittman's family traveled from Boston to North Dakota to pack up his belongings.

They found Pittman's apartment filled with baby clothes, a crib, a bassinet and other things needed to raise a child, his aunt Richelle Cromwell said Monday, Feb. 6, in Cass County District Court. She spoke during a sentencing hearing for the convicted shooter, 37-year-old Anthony Reese Jr.

Instead of using the baby items, they were packed into a truck and hauled back to the East Coast, she said.

"Everything in the apartment represented a bright future," Cromwell said. "Can you imagine how his mother must have felt with the future of her (only) child ... in the back of a truck? What you have taken from our family cannot be replaced."

"You have in an instant taken an entire future away from our family," she added.


Richard Pittman.jpg
Richard Pittman.
Submitted photo

Cromwell was among several people who spoke before Reese received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Moorhead man previously pleaded guilty to three counts of murder: one each for the 43-year-old Pittman, the 32-year-old Carbone who was eight months pregnant and their unborn child, Layla.

"You are a coward not fit to live in society," Pittman's mother, Paula Cromwell, said in court. "If you ever need to talk to somebody, the devil's waiting."

The shooting unfolded on Nov. 17, 2021, at Melet Plastics, 401 27th St. N., in Fargo. Also known as Composite America, the factory where Pittman, Reese and Carbone all worked specializes in engineered plastics.

Pittman and Reese got into an argument over machinery at the factory, according to court documents. Pittman was trying to help Reese before the dispute, prosecutors said.

Reese was told to leave, prosecutors said. One coworker said he was fired.

Reese came back with a gun and confronted Pittman before shooting him four times, prosecutors said.

April Carbone.jpg
April Carbone.
Submitted photo

“He responded, ‘You want to see aggression? I’ll show you aggression,’” prosecutor Sheralynn Ternes said in reciting Reese’s words when he confronted Pittman before the shooting.

Reese then shot Carbone in the chest and stomach as she ran away, the prosecutor said.


Reese turned himself in to police after the shooting. He pleaded guilty in November.

The defendant offered no excuses for the shooting, his attorney Tracy Hines said. Reese did not say anything on his own behalf in court, but Hines said he was willing to take any punishment given to him and work on himself while in prison.

"Mr. Reese decided to take responsibility for his actions," Hines said, adding that he feels horrible and is remorseful.

Pittman and Carbone’s relatives said the couple moved to North Dakota with a friend to seek a better life. Pittman fought his own demons, his family said, adding that Pittman moved to North Dakota to work on himself and improve as a person.

Victims' relatives appear via video to provide impact statements Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Cass County District Court in Fargo, at the sentencing of Anthony Reese for killing two people, including a pregnant woman.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Carbone struggled with drugs but was three years sober when she was killed, her father Bill Carbone said Monday in court.

"She was beside herself with excitement," Bill Carbone said. "All of that was taken away from her senselessly."

Paula Cromwell said Reese left her without a child and grandchild. Pittman was trying to help Reese on the job and did nothing threatening, she said.

"My son and his girlfriend, (human resources), asked you to just go home for the day, and you became enraged, went to your vehicle, got a gun and shot my son and shot April because you got upset," Paula Cromwell said.


Ternes, the prosecutor, asked Judge Wade Webb to sentence Reese to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. "The facts of this case and the violent acts of this defendant call for the harshest punishment available under North Dakota law," Ternes said.

Ternes noted Reese’s criminal history, which included 13 prior convictions. Several of those were assault-related. At the time of the shooting, he was on probation for a 2011 criminal sexual conduct case from Benton County, Minnesota, and was prohibited from having a gun, Ternes added.

Hines asked that Reese be given the chance for parole.

Judge Webb ordered the three life sentences be served at the same time and not consecutively. He called the shootings extreme, senseless, violent and disproportionate for a workplace disagreement.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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