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Collin Tarr sentenced 15 years for Kachina Village murder
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Collin Tarr sentenced 15 years for Kachina Village murder

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Tarr Murder Trial

Collin Tarr, center, listens to testimony during the early parts of his trial in July. Tarr was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for the murder of Timothy Larson.

More than three years after 53-year-old Timothy Larson was found beaten in the middle of a Kachina Village street, his neighbor Collin Tarr, 31, will spend a total of 15 years in prison for his death, a judge ruled Friday.

Tarr was found bloodied and intoxicated when authorities arrived at the scene of the death in February 2018. After a lengthy trial in the Coconino Superior Court last month, Tarr was convicted by a jury on felony charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

Coconino Superior Court Judge Ted Reed sentenced Tarr to 15 years for second-degree murder and five years for aggravated assault, allowing the sentences to be served concurrently.

The length of Tarr's time behind bars is mitigated further by 1,016 days for time already served while awaiting trial.

Reed said he cannot speak to the “horror of the tragedy” any better than the statements already presented by both sides during the sentencing hearing.

Tarr addressed the court for the first time since the incident at Friday's hearing to offer his condolences to Larson’s family. He maintained that he has no recollection of his actions on the day of the murder, and that he regrets his decision to drink.

“Tim [Larson] was my friend with whom I came to care for very deeply,” Tarr said. “I wish I could go back in time to that day. I would not have chosen to start drinking .. I really feel that if I had been sober, none of this would have happened.”

Tarr’s attorney, Kara Sagi, said her client has been “absolutely haunted for the last three and a half years by what happened.” And though the defense argued Tarr’s innocence throughout the trial, Sagi said it does not mean Tarr is unable recognize the fault in his behavior.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Eric Ruchensky told the judge “there was no reason why [Larson] should have suffered the way he did.”

“It’s fair to say this is one of the most brutal assaults many of us will ever see in our lifetime,” Ruchensky said. “The evidence in this case is consistent with a brutal beating of a defenseless adult.”

Before Ruchensky presented his argument, Timothy Larson’s brother, Charles Larson, approached the podium to ask the judge to impose a maximum sentence, citing the emotional trauma it had caused him.

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“Tim’s death was very hard on me. It was horrible and I felt empty inside,” Larson said. “The way my brother died was despicable.”

Sagi asked the judge for a lesser 10-year sentence for the charge of second-degree murder, and a concurrent sentence of five years for the aggravated assault charge. 

The aggravated assault charge stems from an altercation Tarr had with his cousin after police say he committed the murder. The cousin gave a statement to the judge Friday expressing that they did not wish Tarr to serve additional time for the aggravated assault.

The argument for a lighter sentence was accompanied by statements from more than a dozen of Tarr’s family members and friends who were in attendance. His immediate family addressed the judge first, asking the judge to “show mercy.”

Family to fight for son’s innocence

After the sentencing, Tarr’s parents maintained their son’s innocence as they pointed to evidence of a vehicular strike as the cause of Larson’s death.

Following the incident in 2018, a report from the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that Larson sustained multiple skull fractures and more than a dozen broken ribs, ultimately ruling the manner of death as a homicide.

The defense, however, argued during the trial that the injuries were more consistent with being struck by a vehicle due to an alleged high degree of force that would have been necessary to cause the suborbital fracture to Larson’s skull.

During the trial, the defense called on expert testimony from forensic biomechanics expert Dr. Patrick Hannon, who testified that Larson’s injuries cannot be attributed to fist-to-fist combat alone.

But evidence collected by the Coconino County Attorney’s Office poked holes in the defense’s theory, such as testimony from a witness who claims to have seen Larson's head slammed against the ground by another man.

Tarr’s parents released a statement to the Arizona Daily Sun expressing that they were dedicated to seeing their son's innocence proven “at any cost.” The statement said the family was surprised at how short the jury deliberation was.

“We will explore every possible opportunity throughout the justice system,  starting with the appeals process,” the statement said.

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