A jury in Craighead County has sentenced Richard Jordan Tarver to life in prison without parole for the July 3, 2015 abduction and slaying of Lavinda Counce, 90, of Bay.
He got the maximum of three life sentences plus 22 years for capital murder, kidnapping, burglary, abguse of a corpse, theft and possession of a defaced firearm.
Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, who’d sought the death penalty at the end of a two-week trial, in Jonesboro, was quoted in a prepared release:
“I find it ironic that the Defendant called the police officer ‘A Monster’ for coming into his home with a valid search warrant, when the Defendant walked into Ms. Counce’s home, put her into the trunk of her car, and drove around looking for a place to shoot her. It was a senseless act just to satisfy his sick lust for death. I believe it is clear who the real monster in this case is.”
Ellington said that when Craighead County Sheriff’s investigators were questioning Tarver after his July 2015 arrest, Tarver stated that he shot Ms. Counce because he wanted to, “ see what it’s like to shoot somebody.” Tarver explained he had been watching “The Walking Dead” television series and that an “old person’s closest to a zombie.”
Ellington further stated that when investigators asked Tarver if he felt any remorse for shooting Counce in the back of the head and dumping her body in a cornfield, Tarver replied, “No, I don’t have it.”
Tarver’s attorney argued that he’d been coerced into making a confession.