Minn. Court of Appeals denies Timothy Huber new trial
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals in a split decision has upheld the second-degree murder conviction of Timothy Huber for his role in the October 2011 killing of Timothy Larson.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Court of Appeals in a split decision has upheld the second-degree murder conviction of Timothy Huber for his role in the October 2011 killing of Timothy Larson.
Huber, 48, of Paynesville, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in July 2013. He remains in custody at the Rush City prison, according to the Department of Corrections website.
He appealed his conviction of second-degree intentional murder and second-degree unintentional murder, arguing that the jury received improper instructions on “liability for crimes of another” during his trial in Kandiyohi County District Court.
Huber was found guilty of second-degree intentional murder and second-degree unintentional murder while committing another felony of second-degree assault, having been charged under the “liability for crimes of another” portion of Minnesota law - or aiding and abetting.
The jury acquitted him of first-degree premeditated murder.
Huber’s father, Delbert Huber, pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder in August 2012 for the killing of Larson and was given the maximum sentence of 367 months in prison. Delbert Huber died in prison in June 2013 at 83 years of age.
Chief Judge Edward Cleary and Judge Margaret Chutich affirmed the conviction of Timothy Huber for aiding and abetting second-degree murder in an unpublished opinion Monday and denied his appeal for a new trial. Judge Lawrence Stauber Jr. dissented.
The opinion agreed that the jury received improper instructions on “accomplice liability” during the trial, but stated that Huber did not meet the burden of showing the incorrect instructions affected the outcome of his case.
Stauber in his dissent stated that proper instruction could have had a significant effect on the jury’s verdict and said the conviction should be reversed “to permit a properly instructed jury to consider the evidence.”
Larson, 43, of Albertville, was shot and killed on his father’s rural Belgrade property after a confrontation with the Hubers that reportedly stemmed in part from the Hubers’ farm equipment being parked at the Larson farm and ordered off the property by Timothy Larson.
According to the opinion, Delbert Huber and Tim Huber arrived at the Larson farm together, and Delbert instructed his son to stop their vehicle so that he could retrieve a rifle from the trunk.
Delbert Huber reportedly intended to force Larson to admit to stealing a wallet and tractor parts.
Delbert Huber and Larson engaged in a wrestling match and Delbert Huber ran to the car, retrieved the rifle and fatally shot Larson.
Delbert Huber and Tim Huber did not call police for 12 hours and left Larson’s body on the ground.
The jury instructions did not include required language “that (Tim) Huber knew Delbert Huber was going to commit a crime and intended his presence or actions to further commission of the crime,” the opinion states.
However, the opinion referenced evidence at trial showing that Tim Huber intended “to further the commission of the crime,” including his history of ill will toward Larson, his anger over having to move the farm equipment, and his attempts to anger his father by falsely accusing Larson of stealing money, damaging the farm equipment and threatening to kill them.
“This evidence was strong enough to show that Huber was not an unwitting bystander but acted knowingly and intentionally to further his father’s crime,” the opinion states.
It also stated that Huber had full opportunity to present his theory of the case during the trial.
Stauber in his dissent wrote that “evidence that Huber knew Delbert Huber would commit a crime and intentionally assisted him to do so is not overwhelming.”
Tim Huber said he was in the barn during the confrontation, and Delbert Huber was said to have taken “ a World War I-era rifle and attack(ed) a much younger and fitter man after a bout of fisticuffs,” Stauber wrote, the chance of which happening “seems remote.
“On such thin evidence, we should not assume that the lack of a proper instruction did not have a significant effect on the jury’s verdict.”