Alcohol may have fueled a fight that led to the death of one Kachina Village man and another being charged with second-degree murder in February.
According to Coconino County Sheriff’s reports, Collin Tarr, 28, and Timothy Larson, 53, had been drinking together on Feb. 9 when they got into an argument and Tarr allegedly beat Larson to death in the middle of Gambel Oak Trail.
Deputies aren’t clear on what the argument may have been about. It could have been over a pledge from Larson to help Tarr clean up the home he shared with his father because a relative was coming to visit. It could also have been over dogs that had gotten out of their yard.
But around 5 p.m. on Feb. 9, a neighbor called to report a fight in progress and described a man “banging another individual’s head on the road.” When deputies arrived they found Larson lying unresponsive in the street. One deputy started CPR on Larson while waiting for an ambulance to arrive and described Larson’s chest as feeling “unstable, as if there were broken bones and the chest was no longer being supported properly.” Larson was later pronounced dead at the scene.
At that point, Tarr exited a nearby house with blood on his face, chest, legs, arms and hands. He was detained by deputies. Several deputies note in their reports the odor of alcohol on Tarr, he was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Despite the blood on his body, deputies noted that Tarr did not appear to have any injuries except some scratches to his knuckles and the backs of his hands and bruises on his elbows. Tarr was eventually transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for an evaluation.
Tarr gave deputies confusing accounts of what had happened that day at the scene, the hospital and the police station. According to the deputies’ reports, Tarr appeared to be so intoxicated that he mixed the events of several days together. When asked how he had gotten blood on his hands, Tarr said he didn’t know it was blood and thought it was mainly dirt.
He repeatedly told the deputy interviewing him at the station that he didn’t hurt Larson, that Larson was very drunk and he might have pushed Larson in self-defense but he didn’t punch him.
According to the deputy’s report, when Tarr was told that Larson was dead, he responded that he didn’t kill him and asked if the deputy was serious.
“He then advised he wasn’t even hanging out with Tim, and then that Tim had left his house before dark,” the deputy stated in his report. The deputy stopped the interview when Tarr said he wanted to speak with his attorney.
Tarr’s cousin was able to give deputies a slightly clearer picture of what might have happened. She arrived on the scene before deputies but after the fight had ended. She said she was returning home from work with her kids in the car when she noticed Larson lying in the street. She told deputies she thought Larson was simply passed out drunk until she noticed the blood.
She pulled her truck into her driveway, told her kids to stay in the car and ran to where Larson’s body was. She told the deputy that Larson wasn’t breathing. She noticed that the door to her own house was open and the door to a neighbor’s home was also open.
She knew that her cousin, Collin Tarr, had had arguments with that neighbor and feared that neighbor might also be dead. She ran to the neighbor’s home screaming the neighbor’s name.
“My cousin greeted me at the door,” she told deputies. She said that Tarr had a candle and a jug of juice under his shirt and was covered in blood. He was mumbling and shaking badly. She asked what happened and Tarr grabbed her and slammed her repeatedly into the side of the neighbor’s house.
“He was holding me there telling me to tell him the truth, tell him the truth, tell him what’s going on,” she told deputies.
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The cousin told deputies she had seen Tarr go “crazy before, but never this bad.” She told deputies that she tried to calm Tarr by telling him she had her kids with her. He was always good with her kids, she said.
Several days later, in another interview with deputies, she described her cousin as “He had, like, fire in his eyes. I don’t know how else to explain it. You could see it in his face, he was not himself anymore.”
Tarr continued to yell at her and shoved her down the steps to the neighbor’s house. He walked her “forcefully” across the street past Larson. When she asked about Larson, Tarr told her not to worry about him as they walked to her house.
Once at the cousin’s house, she got her son out of the car and put him in the house, then returned to the car to get her two daughters. She described Tarr as lingering around, staggering and muttering weird stuff that she couldn’t understand. As she went out to get her daughter, Tarr picked up her son and pointed out the grill, saying “This is where we grill Junior. This is where we put Junior.” Tarr told deputies that it didn’t appear that Tarr wanted to hurt her son.
When he reached her truck, it was locked. At that point Tarr put his nephew down, picked up a rock and attempted to break the driver’s side window. When she told him to stop, he came around the truck to the passenger side and held up the rock like he was going to hit her, she said. She told Tarr to calm down and he threw down the rock and picked up his nephew and followed her into the house.
The cousin managed to get all of her kids and Collin into the house, where the kids started to “freak out” because of the blood covering Collin Tarr. She corralled the kids in their room and locked herself in the bathroom to charge her phone so she could call 911. Tarr also smashed a plastic shelving unit near her puppies, which were on the porch.
She came out of the bathroom with a washcloth for Tarr to wipe some of the blood off and spotted a police officer outside. At that point she ran outside and started yelling for the officer.
Shetold deputies that her cousin had never tried to hurt her before, even when he was drunk, but this time, “He came at me, like he was going to kill me.” She told deputies, “Collin’s not a bad person, but when he drinks, he’s not, he’s not Collin any more. He is the devil, literally.”
She also showed deputies a text she had received from Tarr the night of the fight that stated, “Hey what’s drunkie number, I want to stir up shit and hopefully beat someone up bad, very vad (sic).”
Deputies also found a text from Collin Tarr to Larson that stated, “You said you would help me clean up around here for Conor, I guess not. Never step foot on my property ever again or will be smashed.”
She also told deputies that her cousin liked to drink with Larson and she could smell alcohol on Tarr. She said she didn’t know of any disagreement between Tarr and Larson. She said that Tarr had smoked weed and used heroin in the past but had been clean for several years.
About two years ago, Tarr got into a fight with a different man and nearly beat him to death. More recently, she said, Tarr had gotten into a fight with one of their neighbors because Tarr had dated the man’s wife a couple of times in the past. Deputies were able to confirm the story with the neighbor. After that fight, Tarr told her he was done with drinking.
Nearly all of the witnesses interviewed by deputies described Larson as a very nice, gentle person, with some mental disabilities, who would shovel their driveway when it snowed, brought them Christmas cards and tried to take care of his mentally disabled brother, but he liked to drink. He was also good buddies with Tarr, who would frequently drive Larson or his brother into town to run errands.
Tarr is currently being held on a $1 million cash bond on charges of second-degree murder, second degree burglary, assault, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.