Her face was still damp with tears, but Claudia McCorvey's voice did not tremble as she addressed the man who 19 years ago killed her unborn son and her friend and forced her into a wheelchair for life.
She stared Thursday at a handcuffed Larry Edward Tarrer and vowed not to divulge details about how much she hates the 37-yearold convicted murderer, if only to deny him the satisfaction.
“I think you’re a coward by not admitting the crimes you committed,” McCorvey said. “I can only hope that one day you become a man and grow up.”
After listening to three women give emotional statements, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Katherine Stolz sentenced Tarrer to 75 years in prison.
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“This court is going to do its best to make sure you never get out of prison alive,” the judge told Tarrer.
This month, a jury convicted Tarrer of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter for the Jan. 9, 1991, shooting inside Mc-Corvey’s living room. He has always maintained his innocence.
Tarrer, then 17, was carrying a .45 semiautomatic pistol and a Tylenol bottle containing rock cocaine when he was invited into McCorvey’s apartment that night.
He became enraged when his drugs went missing and accused McCorvey, then 25, and Lavern Simpkins, 27, of stealing them , according to court documents.
Tarrer fired five bullets in anger, hitting each woman twice.
Simpkins died at the scene. Mc-Corvey, who was seven months pregnant , was paralyzed and lost the use of her legs. Her unborn son did not survive.
More than a dozen of the victims’ loved ones attended Thursday’s hearing, offering hugs and tissues during the sentencing.
“This has been a long time coming to get this done and over with,” said Brenda Blockman, Simpkins’ sister. “It’s been a long haul for my family.”
Nycole Avle, McCorvey’s daughter, also addressed the court. She spoke of the heartache from never knowing her baby brother and pleaded for the judge not to have mercy on Tarrer.
The families quietly cheered and said “Amen” when Stolz said she had planned the entire time to give Tarrer a high-end sentence and chastised him for getting into trouble after being given a second chance.
After Tarrer was arrested for the crimes in 1991, he made bail and was free for three months.
During that time, he resumed dealing drugs and was caught by federal officials selling Ecstacy. He sold 900 pills to an undercover officer and agreed to go get more, officials said.
When a search warrant was served, federal officials also found crack cocaine and cocaine in the trunk of Tarrer’s vehicle.
Tarrer was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his federal case.
“You don’t need anything else from Mr. Tarrer than what he’s demonstrated he can do with three months of freedom,” prosecutor John Neeb told the judge while arguing for a high-end sentence.
Tarrer’s case is one of 35 in Pierce County that were affected by the Washington State Supreme Court’s An-dress ruling, which did away with part of the state’s second-degree-murder law.
Tarrer initially was charged with second-degree murder.
In 2002, the high court ruled that the decision applied to anyone convicted of felony murder since 1976, which invalidated hundreds of convictions. Some accepted plea deals; others went back for a second trial.
Tarrer was recharged and tried after turning down a plea deal that would have required him to serve 22.5 years in prison. When he was sentenced Thursday, he refused to sign the documents.
“You rolled the dice, Mr. Tarrer, and you lost,” Stolz said.