MISSOULA – A 57-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for purposely striking a pedestrian with his van in downtown Missoula, killing him.
Larry Hamby was convicted in May of deliberate homicide for killing 38-year-old Tiege Blackburn in November 2008. Hamby was convicted of attempted deliberate homicide for trying to hit Blackburn’s girlfriend, Stephanie Tuke, but she was able to jump out of harm’s way.
Tuke and another witness testified that the driver of a van passed the couple and yelled something. The driver then parked the van on the side of the road and accelerated toward the couple as they crossed the street.
“Blackburn turned to face the van, raised his hands upward, and planted his feet firmly,” according to court documents. “The van then proceeded to continue to accelerate until it squarely hit Blackburn without slowing or swerving in what appeared to be a very deliberate act.”
Three hours after the wreck, Hamby’s blood alcohol concentration registered at 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit for driving.
District Judge Ed McLean said during Wednesday’s hearing that Hamby has “no redeeming qualities.”
The judge, citing two previous offenses Hamby committed in Tennessee involving alcohol, a vehicle, and extreme rage, said the man presented a danger to any community and deserved to be incarcerated for life.
“He lies, he is a drunk that gets mean and threatens individuals,” McLean said, adding that Hamby’s “background shows that he will go back to using alcohol and will find a victim to take his rage out on.”
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