Niles year in review: Niles man sentenced in double homicide

Published 8:03 am Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Over the last several editions, the Niles Daily Star has recapped the top stories of 2013, which were chosen based on staff review of the most read, talked about and impactful stories of the last 12 months.

The following is what the staff has chosen as Niles’ most significant story of 2013.

It took more than three years, but the man who murdered John and Carolyn Tarwacki was finally brought to justice this fall.

Keith James Lintz, 28, of Niles, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Oct. 11 in Cass County Circuit Court.

It is the most severe penalty allowed in Michigan, which is not a death penalty state.

Lintz maintained his innocence at the sentencing hearing and his lawyer said Lintz appealed the decision.

A Cass County jury found Lintz guilty of two counts of first-degree murder on Sept. 6 after a full week of often emotional testimony. The jury deliberated for almost three hours before returning with the verdict, which also included a charge of felony firearm.

John Tarwacki, Sr. — the father of John Tarwacki — said at the sentencing hearing that the day wasn’t about revenge. He also said it wasn’t a time to celebrate. Instead, he said he hopes that Lintz will one day apologize for what he did. John, Sr., also said he hopes he will be able to someday forgive Lintz.

The Tarwackis worked at Quinlan & Fabish Music Co. in Stevensville and according to family and friends were respected in the community.

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.

The prosecution theorized that Lintz was high when he broke into the Tarwacki’s home looking for something to steal.

No physical evidence was found directly tying Lintz to the scene. The prosecution relied on testimony from several people who said Lintz confessed to them that he was responsible for the murders.

Police received 725 tips and interviewed 381 people in the states of Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Lintz was arrested in October near a relative’s home in Niles.