Jury sees video of Tim Huber interview, scene of crime
WILLMAR — Jurors in the murder trial of Timothy Huber heard testimony Friday from several Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office deputies and viewed two videos, including a recording of Huber’s initial interview with a sheriff’s detective when he claimed he had nothing to do with his father shooting and killing Timothy Larson.
Timothy Huber, 47, of rural Paynesville, is standing trial on first- and second-degree murder charges in the case. He and his father, Delbert Huber, were indicted on the charges for killing Larson, 43, on Oct. 8, 2011, after a confrontation over allegedly stolen money and tractor parts and alleged vandalism of the Huber’s farm tractors. Delbert Huber, 82, is already serving the maximum sentence of 367 months in prison for second-degree murder, to which he pleaded guilty in August.
Four Kandiyohi County sheriff’s deputies responded to Delbert Huber’s 911 call that he had shot and killed someone. The law officers gathered and formulated a response plan at the Crow River Lutheran Church in rural Belgrade before they traveled to the Norman Larson place, just east and north of the church, according to testimony from Sgt. Steve Marquardt. Marquardt led the convoy of squad cars onto the Larson place, he said. The deputies responded with their long guns drawn and found both the Hubers standing near a vehicle.
Prosecutors played a 10-second video clip, which shows the Hubers moving about instead of standing still with their hands up for the arriving officers. Marquardt said he had to repeat his commands to the men as they seemed confused and appeared to not understand his orders to stand still and keep their hands up.
Tim Huber’s initial interview with law enforcement, conducted around 8:30 p.m. that evening by Detective Kent Bauman, included Huber’s statements that Tim Larson had “gang members” coming to get him and his father, and that Delbert Huber “had no choice to defend himself” during the shooting.
When questioned about whether or not Tim Larson had a gun, Huber said that he was not close enough to see, that he was doing the farm chores, and that Larson and his father were fist-fighting and things were happening very fast at the time.
“It was just instant, instant, instant moves,” Huber said in the video to Bauman’s questions about where Tim Larson, Delbert Huber and the gun were in relation to each other as the altercation started and escalated.
Huber also said in the interview that he saw the gun Delbert Huber placed in the trunk of their vehicle before they drove from their rural Paynesville residence to the Norman Larson place. He also said during the interview that Delbert Huber had him stop the vehicle along the road so that Delbert could get the gun from the trunk before they went onto the Larson place.
The gun, a British-made Enfield 303 rifle, was admitted into evidence during Bauman’s testimony. After the Hubers were arrested, law enforcement officers drafted search warrants for both the Larson and Huber properties and found the weapon during the search of the Huber home.
The detective said that “some of his (Tim Huber’s) word choices made him hard to understand” during the interview, but that Bauman did get Huber’s side of the story.
“I didn’t expect someone to break out in violence,” Huber told Bauman during the interview. He said that Tim Larson was talking to him the evening before the shooting in a “real harsh, real tough, real mean” way.
The younger Huber also said during the interview that Tim Larson called him a “stupid, retarded idiot” or some words like that, during their conversation that evening before the shooting. During that conversation, as described by Huber in the video, Huber had criticized Larson for not putting a furnace in Norman Larson’s house. Huber claimed the younger Larson then said “it’s none of your business, you stupid idiot.”
The jury was released from the trial about 2 p.m. Friday, but Judge Donald Spilseth had the attorneys in the case, County Attorney Jenna Fischer and assistant county attorneys Dain Olson and Chris Jensen and public defenders, Stephen Ferrazzano and Carter Greiner, return later in the afternoon to argue whether or not video of Huber’s second interview with law enforcement could be admitted into evidence.
Fischer argued that Tim Huber’s statement in the video that Delbert Huber had pointed the gun at him and said his son was the next to get shot was self-serving, hearsay evidence and not allowed under court rules, citing state Supreme Court rulings in very similar cases.
Greiner argued that Spilseth should allow the video of the statement into evidence, arguing that his client said the first half of a statement — that Delbert Huber would not hurt him as long as Tim Huber obeyed what his father told him to do — in the first interview and then completed it, with the statement in the second interview. “It’s one single thought, in two different places,” Greiner argued.
Spilseth ultimately ruled that the video would not be admitted into evidence, but advised the defense counsel that they could cross-examine Detective Bauman, who will return to the stand Monday when the trial continues in Kandiyohi County District Court.