Timothy Huber was sentenced Friday to 25.5 years in prison on a second-degree murder charge for his role in killing Timothy Larson in October 2011.
Before he handed down the sentence, District Judge Donald M. Spilseth commended the Larson family members -- many of whom have been at every court hearing over the past 21 months -- saying they had conducted themselves in a professional and appropriate manner.
“You are a great family,” Spilseth said, noting that Tim Larson was called a “good and righteous man” several times during the hearing and that the family’s conduct was indicative of the needlessness and senselessness of his killing.
Huber’s sentence was around the midpoint of the 261 to 367 months allowed by state sentencing guidelines.
He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $44,323.61 in restitution, jointly with his father.
He was given credit for 642 days already served in custody.
Huber had been held on $1 million bail since Oct. 8, 2011 -- the day of the killing -- and held without bail since the jury verdict finding him guilty May 7.
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Huber, 47, and his father, Delbert Huber, were indicted on the charges for killing Larson, 43, of Albertville. Delbert Huber shot and killed Larson after a confrontation on the Norman Larson property in rural Belgrade. Norman is Timothy Larson’s father.
Delbert Huber, 83, is already serving the maximum sentence of 367 months in prison for second-degree intentional murder, to which he pleaded guilty last August. According to the Department of Corrections, he is in the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Faribault.
Huber, who has rarely spoken in the court process, said he was sorry to the court system, the people of Kandiyohi County and the Larson family, listing by name some of the family members.
“I’m deeply sorry for what has occurred,” he said.
County Attorney Jenna Fischer argued for the maximum sentence of 367 months, the same sentence as his father, based on the fact that the jury found Timothy Huber equally responsible in the murder.
“Aside from pulling the trigger, they are equally responsible,” Fischer said. “Without each of them working together, Tim Larson would still be alive.”
It was Timothy Huber, Fischer said, who repeated the lies to his father that Larson had stolen money and tractor parts, had vandalized their farm equipment and was going to bring people to kill them. Delbert Huber testified that he had no relationship with Tim Larson and said six times on the witness stand that his son told him that Larson was going to kill them, Fischer noted.
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After the hearing, Fischer said she was disappointed that Timothy Huber didn’t receive the maximum sentence, but that the jury finding Huber responsible for the crime remains a satisfaction for the county attorney’s office and the Larson family.
Stephen Ferrazzano, defense attorney for Huber, argued that Huber’s mental capacity, an IQ of between 72 and 75, was an appropriate basis for lessening Huber’s sentence to 261 months in prison.
Ferrazzano noted that both the court-appointed psychologist and a defense psychologist found that Huber was mentally impaired and that a defense disposition report called for a sentence as low as 130 months in prison.
“If Tim Huber would get the same sentence as his father, it wouldn’t be fair, it wouldn’t be just,” Ferrazzano argued. “In my opinion, it would be cruel.”
Tim Larson’s widow, Deb Larson, and his brother, Randy Larson, took the stand to give victim impact statements during the hearing.
Randy Larson said he was deeply hurt by the fact that the Hubers shot his brother and then let his body lie for about 12 hours before they called law enforcement. “Not only had they murdered him, they left him lay there all day.”
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Deb Larson read several notes sent to her by friends, students and school officials at St. Michael Albertville schools, where her husband was a special education teacher for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students. Each note included a recollection of kind and supportive actions and words by Tim Larson to students facing challenges and teachers whom he supported in their work.
“My husband was a kind and generous man,” Deb Larson said. “My husband’s actions attest to the way he lived his life.”
In contrast, Deb Larson said, Tim Huber’s lies and schemes had given him the sentence of a murderer. “They are evidence that you are a danger to society,” she said.
At the beginning of her statement, Larson said she can’t believe what happened, that she’s a widow and that her two sons are fatherless. At the end of her statement, she asked the judge to give Huber the highest sentence possible, and said Huber had committed a “great sin” of killing a good and upright man.
“The earthly judge is nothing in comparison to the heavenly judge you will sit before,” she said. “Timothy Huber, your only hope in this life and the next is that you acknowledge what you have done, repent and beg for God’s grace.”