LA PLATA, Md.—On July 17, Judge Helen Harrington sentenced George Tanner of Marbury to serve 17 years following his guilty plea to second degree murder. Tanner pled guilty to killing Luther Russell Huffman, 49.
Last New Year's Eve, Huffman and Tanner, who were roommates, got into an argument that turned violent according to Tanner. In his statement to police, Tanner admitted that he had knocked Huffman to the floor of their apartment and repeatedly kicked and stomped on his face, upper torso and the back of his head with steel-toed boots. Tanner told police he left Huffman moaning on the floor and went to sleep. When Tanner woke up he found Huffman in the same spot he left him but he was unresponsive and there was a large blood stain surrounding him. Tanner told police he panicked and tried to clean the stain with dishwashing soap and a white towel but failed - blood had soaked completely through a throw rug and the section of carpet beneath Huffman's body.
After throwing the blood-soaked towel away, Tanner visited a nearby relative and told them about the fight before returning to his home to call police. Authorities arrived shortly thereafter and Huffman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Deputy State's Jerome Spencer commended the Charles County Sheriff's Office and its investigation. "Sometimes the cases that seem easy are the ones that have hidden pitfalls. Tanner admitted to the 911 operator that he killed Mr. Huffman, but that fact alone does not mean he is guilty of murder. Detective Christopher Shankster's thorough interview of Tanner and Detective Kristen Gross' follow-up investigation into Tanner's activities leading up to the murder, provided the evidence necessary to prove that this was a murder case, and not simply manslaughter."
Charles County State's Attorney Tony Covington commented: "This was as senseless a killing as there can be. And it reveals that the human body can only take so much. Unfortunately, some people think they can beat on a person - like on TV or the movies - and nothing tragic will happen. Well that's not reality. I hope Mr. Tanner will reflect on that as he serves Judge Harrington's sentence."
Source: Office of Charles County State's Attorney Tony Covington