Lawrence Howse’s birthday is later this month.
The man everyone knew as “Larry” probably would have wanted to celebrate his 56th with a day of fishing followed by a family get-together featuring barbecued salmon and crab.
Instead, his brother David Howse said Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court, the family will mark the occasion in a solemn fashion.
“I will celebrate it by putting flowers on my brother’s grave,” David Howse told Judge Garold Johnson.
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He spoke during the sentencing hearing of 19-year-old Andrew Boyd, who was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in Larry Howse’s death. The Tacoma man was fatally shot Aug. 31, 2013, in the garage of his Stadium District condominium building.
Relatives and friends of Larry Howse asked Johnson to give Boyd the maximum sentence: 26 years, 8 months in prison.
Johnson gave the family its wish, saying Boyd and his co-defendant, Jeremy Bennett, showed “a callous indifference for human life” when they ambushed Howse, whom they didn’t know, and robbed and shot him, leaving him to die on the concrete floor.
“The word ‘depraved’ comes to my mind,” the judge said.
Bennett, 18, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last year and was sentenced to 28 years, eight months in prison.
Who pulled the trigger remains an unanswered question. Bennett, who cooperated with authorities after his arrest, blamed Boyd.
Boyd, who was set to go to trial before pleading guilty Monday, pointed the finger at Bennett.
“I did not kill Lawrence Howse on that night,” the defendant told Johnson on Wednesday.
“I did show improper actions before, during and after the murder. I should have never went to the garage. I should have made a strong, good-faith effort to stop the murder, and I should have reported it to the police after the murder. I did none of those things.
“I’m hoping Lawrence Howse’s family and friends in time can forgive me.”
Howse’s loved ones were not in a forgiving mood Wednesday.
“I have nothing but hate for him,” said Howse’s niece, Bailey Cryderman. “He targeted my uncle over a car, a wallet and a watch.”
Travis Howse, one of the victim’s two sons, told Johnson he wished Boyd would have faced a death sentence for killing his dad, a loving man who did his best to help him along in life.
“The night his life was lost a piece of mine was, too,” Travis Howse said. “Nothing can ever bring him back. All I can do is ask that you, Judge Johnson, please give this man the maximum possible sentence because what has been recommended by the prosecution seems less like justice and more like a second crime.”
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who handled the case with deputy prosecutor Bryce Nelson, had recommended a mid-range sentence of 23 years, four months in prison.
“The recommendation takes into account the seriousness and senselessness of this crime, the impact on the community and other factors, including mitigating factors,” Lindquist told Johnson.
Boyd’s attorney, Michael Clark, argued for a low-end sentence of 20 years.
Clark said Boyd had a tough upbringing that included abuse by his father and spent his teen years in foster care. Unlike Howse, Boyd had no family to love and support him, the attorney said.
“In Andrew’s case, there was no one,” Clark said.
Johnson was unmoved.
“The best prediction for future conduct is past behavior,” the judge said. “One of the duties of this court is to protect society as much as I can under the statutes. With that in mind, I’m going to sentence you to the maximum, which in this case is 320 months.”
There is no time off for good behavior with a first-degree murder conviction, so Boyd will be 45 before he’s released.