Officer testifies in omnibus hearing in murder
WILLMAR -- Testimony from a Kandiyohi County sheriff's detective regarding the condition of tractors parked at a neighboring farm was heard Thursday during an omnibus hearing for Timothy Huber, who is charged in the shooting death of Timothy Larson.
Larson, 43, of Albertville, was killed Oct. 8, 2011, on his father's rural Belgrade property after a confrontation with Huber and his father, Delbert, apparently stemming in part from the Hubers' farm equipment being parked at the Larson farm.
Det. Eric Tollefson testified Thursday that on Oct. 12 he checked the oil levels in a Belarus 824 tractor and a Farmall 560 tractor and also checked the lights on the Farmall. Tollefson was responding to a call from Walter Roeder regarding what to do with the equipment the Hubers had left on his property after they removed it from the Larson property.
After the confrontation, the Hubers moved the machinery from Norman Larson's farm, but they returned the next morning and Delbert Huber shot Larson in the chest with a high-powered rifle.
Timothy Huber, 46, and his father, Delbert Huber, 82, both of rural Paynesville, were indicted on first-degree murder charges for their roles in the Oct. 8, 2011, shooting death of Larson. Timothy Huber also still faces a second-degree murder charge.
Delbert Huber has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Tuesday by District Judge Michael J. Thompson. The first-degree indictment against the elder Huber was dismissed as a condition of his guilty plea. He is to be sentenced according to state guidelines, which could send him to prison for 25 years.
Tollefson said that, based on statements made during interviews with the Hubers, he examined and took photos of the two tractors, along with a New Idea baler, a haybine and a hay rake, on the Roeder place, which is north of Larson's father's farm.
The Hubers had alleged that someone had put something in the engines of the tractors, causing the oil levels to be over capacity and that the person had also left the Farmall's lights on.
The detective found no typical vandalism-type damage, such as flat tires or smashed windows or lights, on the machines, and said they were older, used equipment. In fact, Roeder was familiar with the tractors, and told Tollefson both needed to be pull started because they had damage to their electrical systems. Roeder also expressed concern that the tractors had no antifreeze in their cooling systems, only water.
Under questioning Thursday by County Attorney Jenna Fischer, Tollefson said he found nothing unusual by pulling the dipsticks on the tractor's engines.
"They appeared to be within the normal range and appeared to have nothing but oil on them," Tollefson said. He also testified that the lights on the Farmall worked just fine when he checked.
Carter Greiner, Timothy Huber's public defender, asked Tollefson if he had permission to check on the alleged vandalism to the Hubers' property and if he had a search warrant to do so. The detective said he did not have permission from the Hubers and did not attempt to get a search warrant.
No further court date has been set in the case against Timothy Huber, as the prosecution and defense will take turns filing briefs on several motions in the case, including a motion by the defense to dismiss the first-degree murder charge, and a motion by prosecution to allow evidence of prior conduct to be admitted in the case.
Timothy Huber faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. His court hearing was before District Judge Donald M. Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court, who will take the case under advisement after the prosecution and defense have filed their briefs.
Officer takes stand in omnibus hearing for younger of two suspects in murder