Man convicted in 1991 Lakewood murder gets 74 years in prison

Staff writerFebruary 14, 2014 

A Pierce County man convicted of killing one woman, paralyzing another and killing her unborn baby in a 1991 Lakewood shooting was sentenced Friday to 74 years in prison.

A Pierce County jury earlier this month convicted Larry Tarrer, 40, of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.

Prosecutors said Tarrer shot Lavern Simpkins and Claudia McCorvey in an apartment in the Tillicum neighborhood  because he suspected someone in the apartment had stolen drugs from him.

Simpkins, 27, died. McCorvey was left paralyzed and her unborn son died. McCorvey was seven months pregnant at the time.

Tarrer, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, has maintained someone else fired the shots.

He's now been convicted and sentenced three times for the crime.

In 1991, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the case and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. That conviction later was overturned when the state Supreme Court invalidated part of the state's second-degree murder statute in the so-called Andress decision.

Prosecutors recharged him under the new laws and offered him a similar sentence, but he decided to go to trial.

A jury in 2010 convicted him of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter and he got 74 years, but the state Court of Appeals overturned that conviction, saying Tarrer did not get a fair trial.

Prosecutors brought him back to trial this year, and he was convicted again.


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