The final defendant pleaded guilty Wednesday in the killing last year of a student outside a Maryville, Mo., bar.
Tony Overlin, 24, of Bethany, Mo., pleaded guilty to first-degree involuntary manslaughter in Buchanan County Circuit Court for his role in the death of Tomarken Smith, 21, on Sept., 14, 2012. Judge Patrick Robb sentenced Mr. Overlin to six years in prison — the amount attorneys from each side sought in a plea agreement and one year less than the maximum sentence.
Mr. Overlin and another Bethany man, Kevin D. Mooney, 32, were originally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault. Mr. Mooney pleaded guilty to first-degree involuntary manslaughter Tuesday in Atchison County Circuit Court. Mr. Mooney will be sentenced Sept. 30.
Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice explained why the state agreed to lesser charges for each defendant. He estimated the odds of a jury convicting the two men of murder at 50 percent, which likely would have led to a manslaughter conviction. However, the sentences juries hand out for manslaughter in Missouri only average about four months.
“Honestly, my heart is broken over Tomarken, but I feel good that we got as much prison time as we could based on the nature of the case,” Mr. Rice said.
Mr. Smith’s mother and sister sat in the front row during the brief hearing with friends and law enforcement personnel at their back. Family, friends and Mr. Rice each wore red wristbands bearing Tomarken’s name, while Mr. Overlin stood alongside his attorney in an orange jumpsuit and sandals.
Mr. Robb asked Mr. Overlin to describe his role in the attack. Mr. Overlin said he struck Mr. Smith with his fists, which caused him to fall to the ground and hit his head, leading to his death.
Mr. Overlin gave a short apology for his “negligence and actions” to those in attendance.
“Saying sorry or any words can’t make up for what happened,” Mr. Overlin said. “I’m sorry it affected so many people and I’m sorry it happened.”
Mr. Smith’s family chose not to give a statement in court.