An Arkansas murder was a practice run for the zombie apocalypse, according to an unusual accusation made by prosecutors in an Arkansas courtroom.
Prosecutors allege that Richard Jordan Tarver, 31, kidnapped a 90-year-old woman from her home in July 2015 and forced her into the trunk of her car. When they got to a nearby cornfield, he allegedly pointed a .38-caliber handgun at the back of her head and fired, killing the elderly woman. Lavinda Counce wasn’t found for ten days.
Prosecutor Grant DeProw told jurors that Tarver binged on zombie television shows and decided to see how he’d fare in the event that truth mirrored fiction.
“He wanted to feel what it felt like to kill someone,” DeProw said.
Tarver and his alleged victim lived just 100 yards apart in Bay, Arkansas. Tarver faces murder, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, theft, and firearms charges.
Police say Tarver confessed after witnesses pointed them in his direction.
"The witness said that they returned home at the trailer park and a friend, Richard Jordan Tarver, was there stating that he had walked up from NEA Hospital where he was dropped off to see someone in the hospital and was needing a ride back to Bay," a probable cause affidavit read, according to the Jonesboro Sun. "The witness said he drove him back to his residence at 309 Harris Street in Bay. Officers obtained a physical description of Tarver, which matched the general appearance of the person walking away from Mrs. Counce's vehicle."
Police said they found Tarver, his wife, and a child in the home after forcing their way in. They claim Tarver confessed to the kidnapping and murder, and to taking some money from the woman.
Tarver's attorney, Randel Miller, did not return a request for comment. 4029TV reports that he said that evidence against Tarver was weak, and that a supposed confession was coerced.
"He would've said anything at that point to keep them from taking his wife," Miller told the Jonesboro Sun. "So he just repeated what he had heard on the news and said what he had to say to keep her from being arrested."
In the trial, which began this week, witnesses testified about the search for Counce and the discovery of her body. Her daughter, Patsy Scott, found the house full of unmade beds and a black bag with “hammer, a hatchet, rope and a club wrapped in plastic tape,” according to Arkansas Online.
"I can't describe the panic I had not knowing where she was," Scott said. "I picked [the bag] up, then dropped it and started praying."
At the jury selection, one woman told DeProw that she wasn’t sure she could impose the death penalty because God decides matters of life, Arkansas Online reported.
"That's a good point," DeProw said. "That's a question I may ask when the trial is over."