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Testimony sheds light on Timothy Huber’s activity on day of murder

Timothy Huber faces first-degree murder charges in a case that his father, Delbert, has already been sentenced and will spend his life behind bars.

WILLMAR — Jurors in the first-degree murder trial of Timothy Huber heard testimony Monday from Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office detectives and viewed a video recording of Delbert Huber’s initial interview with law enforcement officers.

The video was shown of Huber’s interview with Sheriff’s Detective Eric Tollefson and state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Special Agent Nathaniel Brovold.

The trial continues today before District Judge Donald M. Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court.

County Attorney Jenna Fischer and assistant county attorneys Dain Olson and Chris Jensen are prosecuting the case. Timothy Huber is represented by public defenders Stephen Ferrazzano and Carter Greiner.

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, o which he pleaded guilty in August.

During the interview, the elder Huber tells the officers that he did not talk with Timothy Larson when Larson told Timothy Huber to get the Hubers’ farm equipment off Larson’s father’s farm place. However, Huber said he knew Larson and his friends were “going to do us in” on Saturday morning, and Huber took his gun along because “I wanted to be ready when they started shooting at me.”

The elder Huber said he was “absolutely” angry about allegedly missing money from his son’s wallet and missing tractor parts when he confronted Larson.

When asked if Larson saw the gun before Huber shot him, Huber responded “oh, yeah.”

Tollefson testified that officers served a search warrant on the Huber property early in the morning on the day after the murder and found the British 303 rifle in very well-oiled condition.

“It appeared to be just recently cleaned and oiled,” said Tollefson, under questioning by Fischer. The detective noted that his hands became oily from touching the weapon. Officers did not find ammunition or a magazine for the rifle at the residence.

Also admitted into evidence Monday were photographs of Delbert Huber’s car, which his son used to drive his father to the Larson place before the shooting, and photos of the tractors that the Hubers moved off the Larson place. The photos show that the lights were working on one of the tractors and that the oil levels were within the acceptable range on the dipstick from each machine. The Hubers had alleged that Larson had turned the lights on on one of the tractors and put coolant or some other substance in the oil reserves of the tractors.

The state also submitted into evidence an audio recording, made by Timothy Larson on a digital recorder and discovered by his wife after his death, of a voicemail that Timothy Huber left on the Larsons’ home phone. The message includes that Larson can forget hunting on the Hubers’ land and that Larson had better fix up his father’s house, because the younger Larson was making big money and not helping his father.

The recording also includes a statement by Huber that the Larsons “don’t appreciate us and what we are doing” and that Larson had better “start waking up and figure out what’s happening in the real world.” At the end of the message, Huber says “thank you and have a nice day.”

Also testifying Monday were several people who had contact with Timothy Huber on the day of the murder, after the incident happened but before the shooting was reported to law enforcement.

Thomas Metcalf, of Litchfield, testified that he had driven to the Huber place that morning to purchase two junked cars from Huber and that the younger Huber helped him load one of the two vehicles onto a trailer with a tractor.

Wayne Hagen, of rural New London, testified that he talked with Timothy Huber on the phone that morning about a dead cow on the Normal Larson place, and that Huber told him that the animal would be picked up by a rendering service.

Ernest Ruchti, also of New London, testified that he had talked with Huber about Huber’s work on a baler and about tractors on the afternoon of Oct. 7, 2011, the day before the shooting. And he said that Huber called him around 10 a.m. the next day to tell him that he was at the Paynesville farm and would not be back at Norman Larson’s place that day.

Larson was killed early in the day on Oct. 8, 2011. The death was reported to law enforcement many hours later.

Finally, Edward Rossman, of rural Paynesville, testified that Timothy Huber helped him hang siding on a house for two hours on Oct. 8, 2011, and did not mention anything about a homicide earlier in the day.

Also received into evidence was surveillance footage from the H & L Express convenience store at Paynesville. David Lange, one of the owners of the store, reported that he reviewed the footage after an employee informed him that the younger Huber had been in the store on the day of the shooting.

Trisha Appeldorn, county veterans service officer, testified that records from the military show that Timothy Larson enlisted in the U.S. Marines in June 1986 and was honorably discharged in January 1990, serving active duty during training for one year and then on reserve duty for the remainder of the time. He was never deployed and was trained as an auto mechanic.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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