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Illinois Defendant Murdered Ex-Girlfriend While She Was on Thanksgiving Day Date with Another Man: Authorities

Robert J. "Bobby" Tarr appears in a Montgomery County, Ill. mugshot.

Robert J. “Bobby” Tarr appears in a Montgomery County, Ill. mugshot.

An Illinois man has been charged in the Thanksgiving Day shooting death of his ex-girlfriend and the injury of another man.

Robert “Bobby” J. Tarr, 48, stands accused of three counts of murder in the first degree and one count of attempted first-degree murder, according to Montgomery County State’s Attorney Andrew Affrunti.

The incident occurred in the Farmersville, Ill. home of 48-year-old Christopher J. Smith, who was injured during the attack; 45-year-old Leslie J. Reeves was killed. She was pronounced dead at the scene by authorities. Smith was rushed to a nearby hospital.

“Ms. Reeves’ friends hadn’t heard from her, they knew where she was suppose to be,” the prosecutor previously said in comments cited by The Telegraph, an Alton, Ill.-based newspaper. “They called our sheriff’s dispatch in Montgomery County for a welfare check. Authorities arrived at the house, saw that a crime had been committed. Officers responded and went in and located Ms. Reeves deceased.”

Authorities said the defendant “was determined to be a person of interest, as he had a previous dating relationship with Reeves.”

According to The Belleville News-Democrat and The Edwardsville Intelligencer, the deceased was remembered as a mother of two and as the owner of a yoga studio and party event space. She was also a domestic violence advocate who offered self-defense lessons at her studio and a committed philanthropist in her community.

“My hope is that as a proud member of her tribe, that we can all come together to remember Leslie’s legacy in a way for which she would be proud,” Dawn Mushill, executive director of the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce, wrote on the organization’s website. “There is no doubt that she became very vulnerable, advocating in the way that she did. 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 bond was raised significantly during an arraignment before Resident Circuit Judge Jim Roberts earlier this week.

Initially assessed at $2 million, the prosecutor asked the court to double that amount based on allegedly new information. The judge ended up meeting the state halfway by granting a $3 million bond.

Citing autopsy reports, Affrunti said the well-known businesswoman was executed.  The reports indicated that Reeves died from a single gunshot wound to the head as well as the presence of gunpowder residue near the bullet’s entry wound.

Additionally, the prosecutor argued, the defendant disclaimed any knowledge of Smith or culpability in the attack. Tarr insisted he had been at his own home since the 24th of November.

But those initial comments to police, the state insisted, were demonstrably false based on the allegedly new evidence.

“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,” Affrunti alleged during the bond hearing. “Officers were also able to determine the vehicle that Mr. Tarr had at his residence, a Volkswagen Jetta, was seen on license plate readers leaving the area in the evening hours and then returning back in the area about 12:08 a.m. — which matches the time frame as well. The vehicle had been freshly washed and the floorboard was still soaking wet.”

“Officers also received a text message that showed Mr. Tarr knew that Ms. Reeves was at the residence and that Mr. Smith was at the residence,” the prosecutor added — suggesting the defendant was explicitly clued in to the romantic nature of the Thanksgiving meal that was being shared that ultimately horrible evening.

[images: Tarr via Montgomery County; Reeves via Chamber of Commerce]

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