October 15, 2013
HAZARD—The grand jury in Perry County will review evidence against two people arrested after a man was allegedly left to die in the North Fork of the Kentucky River.
Larry Yocum, 42, and 47-year-old Teresa Karr appeared for separate preliminary hearings in district court on Tuesday. Yocum is facing one count of attempted murder and tampering with physical evidence. Karr is also charged with tampering.
The two were arrested on Sept. 30, according to Lt. Paul Campbell with the Hazard Police Department, after Karr called authorities to remove an intoxicated man from inside her apartment. The man, identified during Tuesday’s hearing as John Luttrell, later told police he had witnessed the murder of Jeff Karr, Teresa’s husband, earlier that day.
“At that point I asked him what specifically he observed, and he told me he saw Larry Yocum assault Karr, drag him down the river bank, throw a brick over top of his head,” Campbell testified, adding Yocum was then alleged to have dragged Karr into the water and attempted to weigh him down with the block before leaving him in the river.
Officers responded to the river bank where Luttrell said he, Yocum, and Jeff Karr had been drinking earlier that day near the city basketball courts on Main Street. Campbell said officers located a trail of blood leading to the water, along with drag marks in the soil.
Jeff Karr was later located on the other side of the river approximately 150 yards from the initial scene. He had suffered an obvious injury to his head, Campbell said, but was still conscious and able to speak.
“I interviewed Karr, he stated that Mr. Yocum hit him one time and that’s all he remembers,” Campbell testified.
Jeff Karr was later airlifted to the University of Kentucky medical center and released the following day.
Yocum, who had been transported to the Hazard ARH at his request but later refused treatment, was placed under arrest at the hospital.
Officers were led back to Teresa Karr based upon statements Luttrell made to police, specifically that when he and Yocum returned to Karr’s apartment, she noticed Yocum was wet and covered in blood.
“John Luttrell stated that at that point, she said, ‘You guys left Jeffery in the river, didn’t you?’” Campbell testified.
Campbell said Teresa Karr admitted to having a sexual relationship with Yocum, and in an interview with police she admitted to observing Yocum returning to the apartment covered in water. She was then alleged to have washed all of the clothing Yocum was wearing at the time of the assault, including his shoes. Campbell said the clothing was later located in a dryer inside the apartment, and had been cleaned to the point investigators could not glean any evidence such as blood.
“Anything of any evidentiary value was destroyed,” he said.
In both cases Judge Leigh Anne Stephens made a finding of probable cause and bound the cases over to the grand jury, which is set to meet later this month. At that time, the grand jury will consider returning an indictment against Yocum and Karr. Stephens also denied a request to reduce Karr’s bond, noting her past criminal history. They are both lodged at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard.