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.

Clinton Thomas can be reached at clinton.thomas@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPThomas.

(5) comments

1Adam12

Family was satisfied with the outcome as well if you would have read the article. Further, the max one can get for manslaughter is (Class C Felony) is up to 7 years in prison, up to a $5,000.00 fine, or any combination of the two penalties.

NWMO

Wow.....6 years. What a horrible tragedy compounded by such a minimal consequence......and the prosecutor is satisfied?

He didn't kill the guy intentionally. Appears to be a fight outside the bar where one guy got hit, lost his footing and fell onto something hard. Six years, to me seems harsh. What if the guy that died had simply tripped on a crack in the sidewalk?

1Adam12

socialfingered

One of the underlying issues is that these two individuals had prior dealings with the victim and local LE before this incident happened.

While you are correct that he fell after being smacked in the head with a fist....I do believe you are incorrect when saying the punishment is to harsh. While they didn't mean to kill him, the incident does meet the merits of manslaughter.... and as a Class C felony, punishment goes up to 7 years in the joint.

I truly think it fits the crime especially since the family was apparently on-board with PA Rice.

GoHawkeyes

As someone who has a family member who spent time in prison several years ago I can tell you that the sentence doesn't end when they are released from prison. The world changes very fast so he will be 6 years behind on everything when he is released. Also, and more importantly, the stigma of being a convicted felon will follow him his entire life and make gainful employment hard to come by.

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