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An Illinois man has been accused of gunning down his ex-girlfriend on Thanksgiving while she was on a date with another man.
Robert “Bobby” J. Tarr, 48, is now facing three counts of first-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend Leslie Reeves—who had taught self-defense courses in the community and was an outspoken advocate against domestic violence.
Tarr is also facing one count of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Christopher J. Smith, 48, who had been on a date with Reeves, 45, at the time of the shooting, according to The Edwardsville Intelligencer.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney Andrew Affrunti said in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was called to do a welfare check at a Farmersville home around 12:42 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Deputies arrived to find both victims inside the home. Reeves was pronounced dead at the scene.
Affrunti said in a court hearing last week that the mom of two had been shot in the head at close range.
“Our opinion is that she was executed by Mr. Tarr during the incident,” he said, according to the local paper.
Smith was “critically injured” and transported to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, according to the statement from authorities.
Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Robbins told Oxygen.com that as of Monday, Smith was still alive “with no true projected outcome.”
He declined to provide any additional details, citing the active investigation.
Investigators honed in as Tarr as a possible suspect in the case after uncovering his prior romantic relationship with Reeves.
He was arrested Nov. 26 at his Collinsville residence.
Although Tarr initially told police he had never heard of Farmersville and had never left his house on the evening of Nov. 24, Affrunti said in court that investigators had discovered evidence suggesting that he had left the home.
“Officers interviewed other individuals who indicated that Mr. Tarr did in fact leave the residence and returned in the early morning hours of the 25th and appeared to be upset and disheveled,” he said, noting that license plate readers also captured his vehicle leaving the area on the night of Nov. 24 and returning sometime just after midnight.
According to Affrunti, the “vehicle had been freshly washed and the floorboard was still soaking wet.”
In light of the allegations, he argued that Tarr’s bond—which had initially been set at $2 million—be raised to $4 million.
Tarr’s court-appointed defense attorney Brenda Mathis argued, however, that her client was “low-risk” and requested the 48-year-old’s bail be reduced to $100,000.
“It doesn’t appear the state has been able to link Mr. Tarr to these murders. The only thing they would have would be him leaving his residence, which is approximately an hour away from the area that this was committed in,” she said. “Outside of that, judge, I didn’t hear any statements from witnesses that anyone saw Mr. Tarr in the area, or that Mr. Smith had made any statements that Mr. Tarr was the individual that committed this crime.”
The judge in the case ultimately set the bond for $3 million.
Reeves had been the owner of All You Studio and Party Place in Troy. She also taught self-defense courses and had been an outspoken advocate for domestic violence victims, according to The Telegraph.
Dawn Mushill, the executive director of the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce said in a statement obtained by the paper that she was “devastated” by Reeves’ death.
“Our thoughts are with those all whose lives were touched by her light,” she wrote. “We will continue Leslie’s empowering mission to the best of our ability, in her memory.”
She described Reeves as a “powerful, lovable, strong” woman who had devoted her life to helping victims of domestic abuse, often working in conjunction with shelters, food pantries, counselors and other organizations, according to the statement also obtained by the Belleville News Democrat.
“There is no doubt that she became very vulnerable, advocating in the way she did,” she wrote. “But honestly, I do not think she would have stepped back from any situation if it meant helping someone else. The tragedy to this situation is that she lost her life in the same way that she protected others.”
Tarr’s next hearing is scheduled for the afternoon of Dec. 23.
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