JONESBORO, Ark. — Prosecutors in northeastern Arkansas say a man accused of kidnapping and killing a 90-year-old woman had become “obsessed with zombies” and wanted to know what it’d feel like to kill someone.
But an attorney representing Richard Jordan Tarver told jurors there is scant evidence connecting his client to last year’s shooting death of Lavinda Counce.
“They tore Mrs. Counce’s car apart, and not one single piece of Tarver’s DNA is in it,” Tarver’s attorney Randel Miller said. “The only thing in the bag that matches Tarver’s DNA is a washcloth. Did I mention the gun doesn’t match the bullet that killed Mrs. Counce?”
Richard Tarver’s trial in Craighead County began this week, the Jonesboro Sun reported (http://bit.ly/2dBsWyh ). He is charged with kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and several theft and firearm charges. He’s pleaded not guilty.
Tarver is accused of fatally shooting Counce in July 2015. Her body was later found in a cornfield.
Counce’s daughter Patsy Scott found a bag left at Counce’s house that contained a rope, crowbar, duct tape and other items consistent with a kidnapping. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Grant Deprow said the bag was a survival kit for the “zombie apocalypse” that belonged to Tarver.
Police said Tarver confessed to the killing in an interview, but defense Miller said the confession was coerced with threats to detain Tarver’s family. Miller asked Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd if he stopped doing any investigation after Tarver confessed, and the sheriff said he had not.