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Sentenced to life for double murder, Lintz maintains innocence

Published 10:49am Friday, October 11, 2013

CASSOPOLIS — Keith James Lintz maintains his innocence, even after a Cass County jury convicted him last month of murdering Niles couple John and Carolyn Tarwacki in February 2010.

Lintz, 28, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole — a sentence that is mandatory for anyone convicted of first-degree murder in Michigan, as Lintz was.

Prior to hearing his sentence, Lintz was given the opportunity to speak. He turned around in his chair and looked in the direction of the Tarwacki family and said, “I’m sorry for your loss, but I didn’t do it. That’s all there is to it.”

It wasn’t the apology the father of John Tarwacki — John Tarwaki, Sr. — said he hoped he would hear

John Tarwacki, Sr., was one of two victims who spoke during Friday’s sentencing hearing in Cass County Circuit Court before Judge Michael Dodge. The other was Sharon McKnight, Carolyn’s mother.

Both said the day was not about revenge and was not a celebration for their families. Tarwacki, Sr., said he hopes Lintz realizes what wonderful people his son and daughter-in-law were, and how much they are missed. He said he hopes Lintz will someday apologize for what he’s done. He said he hopes and prays that someday he will be able to forgive Lintz for what he did.

Lintz signed an appeal rights form after sentencing. His attorney, Greg Feldman, said the case would now go to the Michigan Court of Appeals in Lansing. Feldman estimates it will take between 12 and 15 months before a decision is made on the appeal.

“He (Lintz) is resigned to the fact that now a higher court will review the records,” Feldman said. “He is hopeful that they will recognize errors were made by the court.”

Feldman made numerous objections to evidence brought forth in the trial. He asked for a mistrial, but was not granted one, when the prosecution did not disclose to him in a timely manner a report on a hair sample found at the scene of the crime.

Feldman said the court of appeals could consider that in their decision.

The Tarwackis were found murdered in their home on Carberry Road in Howard Township on Feb. 5, 2010. Both were stabbed and shot multiple times.

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