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MPD searching for evidence, stolen items in Kimmons death

20110719_MPD_MFD_Diving_Murder-Investigation_CAB_0010MISSION — Mission police this week combed the area along West 2 Mile Line Road near the home of retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent Willis Spears Kimmons who was found dead last week. The suspects have told officials they got rid of the weapon used in the area.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jody Tittle said the department is trying to find anything that would help the case, even though the suspects have confessed to the crime.

Authorities were unsuccessful in their search using a canine unit and divers in the canal next to the house.

20110714_Tarbutton-Arista-Arraignment_Kimmon-Murder_CAB_0016David Tarbutton Jr., 19 and Leroy Arista, 23, were charged on July 14 with capital murder in Kimmons’ death. Their bonds were set at $5 million each.

Peggy Arista, 42, Arista’s mother, was also arrested and charged with tampering with evidence and received a $200,000 bond.

Kimmons, 86, was found dead in his home July 12.

20110714_Tarbutton-Arista-Arraignment_Kimmon-Murder_CAB_0029Police were called out to the victim’s home on the 200 block of West 2 Mile Line Road after a neighbor noticed the garage door and interior door were left open, which was unusual of the neighbor.

Kimmons was found dead lying in his bed with a book in his hand, police said. He had trauma to the face, head and neck area. According to the autopsy, the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the face.

Tittle said the closet where the guns were kept had been medeled with.

According to court documents, Tarbutton became a person of interest after talking with family and friends about the victim. Tarbutton had been a suspect in a previous burglary and was a victim of a gang-related stabbing on June 29. Tarbutton was also a friend of the family having gone hunting with Kimmons and others on several occasions.

Family members also told authorities that Tarbutton had been over to Kimmons’ house early one morning asking to borrow a shotgun over a year ago.

Tarbutton had been arrested on a traffic stop for possession of a .45 Colt handgun. The handgun was positively identified as belonging to the victim, said authorities.

After being questioned, he admitted to his role in Kimmons’ death and said Arista helped him. Two witnesses also identified Arista’s vehicle being parked behind the Kimmons’ residence the night before he was killed.

Authorities said while waiting for Arista to show up at his residence, patrol officers stopped him for a traffic violation. Arista and a passenger were arrested after a U.S. Border Patrol antique box was found in the vehicle. The item was identified as belonging to the victim.

The passenger gave a statement to authorities saying Arista told him that he and Tarbutton had beat a man and stolen guns, court documents state. The passenger also said that Arista and his mother had an argument about the guns the night before with Arista asking where they were and his mother telling him that he wasn’t getting them back.

Tarbutton’s brother also gave a statement that he told him that he and “Hex,” later identified as Arista, did a “lick” meaning kick in a door and stole the guns.

Both Arista’s and Tarbutton’s residences were searched. Several items linking them to the murder were found at their homes. The affidavit also states that a security surveillance system located in a closet at Arista’s residence was ripped out leaving a trail of video cords. The suspect’s mother did not know where it was, while the father said the mother probably took it to work to fix it.

Xanax and gang related material was also found at Arista’s residence, police said.

Authorities said the suspects confessed to killing Kimmons after they saw he was still awake.

Family members questioned why the suspects had to kill Kimmons, saying he was deaf and they could have taken the guns and left without harming him.

“The guys that killed him are animals,” said Will Bogert, Kimmons’ son-in-law.

Authorities are still trying to locate up to eight guns, including three shotguns, two pistols and a 30.30 rifle.

Tittle asks anyone with information to call the Crimestoppers hotline at 956-581-TIPS. He said if anyone wants to turn in the guns anonymously, they’d take them.

“Our job’s still not done,” said Tittle. “The case against Tarbutton is tremendous. The case against Arista is great. If anyone stands in the way of justice, they need to be booked. That’s a heinous crime. We expect to bring this crime to justice.”

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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