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Testimony from staff at VA tells of Hubers’ outbursts

The defense will present its case today in Timothy Huber's murder trial.

WILLMAR — Veterans Administration staffers from St. Cloud testified Wednesday about angry confrontations with both Timothy Huber and Delbert Huber during the summer of 2011 over medication for Delbert.

They were among the final witnesses for the prosecution Wednesday afternoon in the murder trial of Timothy Huber for the killing of Timothy Larson in October 2011.

The prosecution rested its case, ending its presentation of evidence and testimony to the jury. The defense attorneys for Huber will begin presenting their case this morning in the ongoing murder trial for Huber in Kandiyohi County District Court.

The trial is before District Judge Donald M. Spilseth. The jury is expected to receive the case early next week.

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

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.

The final state witnesses on Wednesday afternoon, employees of the Veterans Administration Medical Center at St. Cloud, testified that Delbert Huber threatened employees at the medical center in July 2011 in an effort to get medication without visiting a doctor.

Marcene Dockendorf, who has since retired as a pharmacy technician, testified that she received a phone call from Timothy Huber on July 21, 2011, in which Timothy Huber got “very angry” with her that she could not refill Delbert’s prescription for heart medication.

Dockendorf said that Delbert Huber then got on the phone and threatened her, saying he would bash her head in and that he would come to the facility and “blow people away.”

The next day, Maria Bircher, a licensed practical nurse at the facility, called the Hubers regarding the pills. The call was made while Larry Atkinson, captain of the VA police service at the facility, listened on speakerphone.

Bircher testified that Timothy Huber answered the phone and said his father was not available. The younger Huber then threatened to kill himself if medical personnel did not send the medication.   

Atkinson testified that he met both Hubers at the facility July 29, when they came for Delbert’s doctor appointment. The officer patted both men down for weapons and discussed the seriousness of the threats made against the facility with each of them.

Atkinson testified that the elder Huber “talked over” him during the beginning of their conversation and “it took a while for me to get through to him the seriousness of the threats he had made.” Atkinson said he suspected Delbert Huber was just saying what he had to in order to get the officer to leave Huber alone.

Timothy Huber, on the other hand, understood after conversing with Atkinson that if he made threats against the VA facility again, he would be criminally charged, Atkinson testified. Huber then told the officer that if he got arrested, Delbert would likely have to go to a nursing home because no one else would take care of his father.

On Wednesday morning, two forensic scientists from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified about the gun Delbert Huber used to shoot Timothy Larson and the letters that Timothy Huber wrote to Larson’s father, Norman Larson.

Kurt Moline, BCA forensic scientist regarding firearms, testified that he examined the British-made Enfield bolt-action rifle, and found that the firearm had no malfunctions and he successfully test-fired the weapon without incident. Moline also testified that he attempted to get the gun to misfire, both with the safety mechanism on and off, and could not get the weapon to misfire.

Delbert Huber testified earlier in the trial, and in his own court hearings, that the gun went off while he was holding it and pointing it at Timothy Larson as a way to get Larson to admit that Larson had taken money and tractor parts from the Hubers.

“Based on my testing, (the gun) did not discharge without my pulling the trigger,” Moline said.

In addition, a trigger pull test showed that 5.25 pounds of pressure was required to pull the trigger of the rifle, Moline testified.

Shawn Gallagher, BCA forensic scientist regarding handwriting and documents, testified that he compared known and questioned samples of writing by Timothy Huber and determined that Huber did write the letters to Norman Larson that Larson later turned over to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office.

Members of the jury were allowed to read the letters after Gallagher testified about them.

Timothy Larson’s longtime friend Lee Gerhardson also testified Wednesday, telling the court that he had hunted pheasants on the Huber property and that he had no feelings of violence toward the Hubers. In fact, Gerhardson said he paid Timothy Huber for working on his tractor, gave Huber clothing and paid for his meals.

Gerhardson also said he was in Broken Arrow, Okla., at the time of the shooting, attending Bible college there. He also said there was no reason why Timothy Larson would have mentioned his name to Timothy Huber during the confrontation between the two men the night before Larson was shot and killed.

Earlier testimony included that Timothy Larson told the Hubers that he was bringing his “gang,” including Gerhardson, to the Larson place. Delbert Huber testified that they were going to “do us in” which Huber took to mean killing him and his son.

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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