Death penalty sought for Lavinda Counce murder suspect

Death penalty sought for Lavinda Counce murder suspect
Richard Tarver (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)

BAY, AR (KAIT) - A prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against a man accused of abducting and killing an elderly Bay woman.

A news release from Scott Ellington, District Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District confirmed the decision on Thursday.

Richard Jordon Tarver, 30, of Bay is accused of kidnapping and killing Lavinda Counce, 90, on July 3, 2015.

Ellington filed amended capital murder charges against Tarver on Thursday in Craighead County Circuit Court, the release stated. The filing would justify a jury imposing the death penalty against Tarver if he is convicted of capital murder.

"Today on behalf of Ms. Lavinda Counce, her family, and the good people of Bay, I have filed notice of my intent to seek the death penalty against Mr. Tarver," Ellington said as part of the news release. "After careful review of the investigative file, I believe that the facts of this especially horrific case warrant its use and justice requires it."

Besides the murder charge, Tarver is accused of "aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated residential burglary, abuse of a corpse, theft of property, and possession of a defaced firearm in the Counce case," Ellington stated.

Tarver has entered a not guilty plea.

He is expected to appear in court on March 3 for a pretrial hearing.

Tarver's trial date is set for March 14.

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