Collinsville man accused of Thanksgiving Day murder of Troy self-defense instructor

·3 min read

A Collinsville man is being charged in the Thanksgiving Day shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, a well-known Troy woman, and the shooting of another man at a Farmersville home.

The victims were Leslie J. Reeves, 45, and Christopher J. Smith, 48.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney Andrew Affrunti is charging Robert “Bobby” J. Tarr, 48, with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, according to a press release from his office.

According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Friday, police received calls for a welfare check to Nobbie Street in rural Farmersville at about 12:42 p.m. Thursday. Evidence at the scene suggest that Reeves was shot inside the home of Christopher J. Smith, 48, who also was critically injured in the shooting, according to the sheriff’s department.

Reeves was pronounced dead at the scene by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Smith was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, the sheriff’s department said.

According to the release from the state’s attorney’s office, investigators identified Tarr as a person of interest, as he had a previous dating relationship with Reeves.

On Friday, sheriff’s deputies located Tarr at his Collinsville residence and executed a search warrant obtained through Affrunti’s office. Tarr was detained on suspicion of first-degree murder and transported to Montgomery County Jail, where initial bond was set at $2 million, according to the release.

Arraignment on the first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder was scheduled for the Montgomery County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Collinsville Police, the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services assisted in the investigation, the release stated.

Reeves was the owner of All You Studio and Party Place in Troy and the mother of two children, a story in the Edwardsville Intelligencer reported.

Dawn Mushill, executive director of the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce, posted a long statement on the organization’s website, saying the organization’s members are “devastated.”

“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,” Mushill wrote.

Mushill described Reeves as “powerful, lovable, strong (inside and out), gracious, vulnerable and funny.”

The statement noted that Reeves was a domestic-violence advocate who offered self-defense training at her studio, in addition to yoga and other fitness services. She also worked with shelters, food pantries, counselors and non-profit organizations to help victims.

“There is no doubt that she became very vulnerable, advocating in the way that she did,” Mushill wrote. “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.”

The statement asks people to consider donating to a fund for Reeves’ children set up by parents at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Maryville.

“Her children were her life,” Mushill wrote. “She would show me funny pictures of them or tell me about some crazy stories. They loved their mother and my heart goes out to her children and her family.”

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