Jury finds Tarr guilty of murder

by James Stewart
Michael Tarr Michael Tarr

Just before 1 a.m. today, Thursday, a McCulloch County Jury of 10 women and 2 men returned a unanimous decision that Brady resident Michael Tarr is guilty of murdering Jason Allan Cumbie.

It took nearly 7 hours of deliberations for the jury to reach their verdict.

The murder happened on Aug. 15, 2021, at the Cumbie residence at 1605 South Wall Street around 4 a.m.

The case was heard in the 452nd District Court presided over by Judge Rob Hofmann. District Attorney Tonya Ahlschwede and Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes made the case for the state and Judson Woodley defended Tarr.

At the crux of the case was a history between the two men centered around back-and-forth messages related to Cumbie’s girlfriend, Tiffany Villarreal.

The events leading up to the altercation were laid out during the trial. The incident culminated just before 4 a.m. when Tarr drove to Cumbie’s house.

Villarreal testified that only moments after Jason left out the back door of the house, she heard a gunshot and when she got outside, Jason was on the ground partially under the pickup Tarr had driven to the scene.

Tarr was arrested by Brady Police, and he consented to a blood draw. Court documents showed that at the time of the arrest, his blood alcohol level was .157, nearly twice the legal limit of intoxication to operate a vehicle.

Tarr’s attorney based much of his defense on the statements by Tarr that Cumbie had attacked him as soon as he stepped out of the pickup and that he fired the gun in the air to scare him off. Video of police interrogation after he had been arrested showed Tarr re-enacting how he stated the events transpired.

His attorney also attempted to convince the jury that two pieces of metal found at the scene were used by Cumbie as weapons in his assault on Tarr. Ultimately, there was no proof or evidence that the metal objects were connected to the attack.

Dr. Suzanna Dana, a forensic pathologist who conducted Cumbie’s autopsy, testified as to the cause of death and also explained evidentiary photos showing the wound. The angle of entry of the bullet was described as coming at a shallow angle in a downward angle. The bullet entered Cumbie’s neck and stopped in his vertebrae.

Sentencing will begin at 10 a.m. today, Thursday, June 15, at the McCulloch County Courthouse.