MISSOULA – A 56-year-old man accused of running down a pedestrian with his van in downtown Missoula has been convicted of murder and attempted murder.
A District Court jury deliberated for about 35 minutes Thursday before finding Larry Hamby of Missoula guilty in the November 2008 death of 38-year-old Tiege Blackburn.
Witnesses say they saw Hamby in his van arguing with Blackburn, who was walking nearby. Later, while Blackburn and his girlfriend were crossing the street, witnesses say Hamby pulled away from the curb, accelerated into Blackburn and left the scene. Blackburn’s girlfriend was able to jump out of the way.
About five minutes later, police found the van parked with Hamby behind the wheel, visibly intoxicated.
According to court records, Hamby challenged officers to fight and made repeated references to hitting a pedestrian. At one point he said, “I don’t kill people with vehicles; I do it with my bare hands.”
Hamby’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.16 percent three hours after the wreck, twice the legal limit for driving.
Defense attorneys Ed Sheehy and Chris Daly did not deny that Hamby’s van was involved in the fatality, but they called into question the state’s evidence that placed their client behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
Chief Deputy Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst argued there was enough circumstantial evidence to establish that Hamby was driving at the time of the crash.
Hamby remains jailed without bail and is scheduled to be sentenced July 14.
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