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A Best Friend's Betrayal: The Murder of Larry Holman

On November 21st, 2000, Larry Holman was found dead in vehicle while on the wooded ground of his employer, La Roche Industries, in Festus, Missouri. Larry, age forty-four, was found with a soda between his legs and his foot on the brake of his car. The vehicle was still running, and it appeared that he was shot while driving. Was this a tragic accident or something more sinister? The truth would shock and devastate the small community of Festus, Missouri.



Larry Holman was born December 30th, 1950, in St. Louis, Missouri. Larry became a father to his eldest daughter, Jennifer, but his first marriage ended in divorce. He met Tammy Duncan many years before. Tammy was twelve years younger than Larry and the two had met at church. Tammy and Larry began a relationship in the 1980’s and married in 1986. Larry and Tammy went on to have two children, Josh and Natasha.

Larry was a hard worker and provider for his family. He worked at La Roche Industries. Larry and Tammy were both very involved in the church. It was in the church that they met Charlie and Irma Miller. Charlie and Larry became best friends. Larry and Charlie went hunting together and helped each other out when money was tight. Charlie would frequently put money in places around the Holman home when Larry’s union was on strike.



Tammy was a stay-at-home mother to the kids while Larry provided for the family. When Larry wasn’t working, he frequently went hunting. This left Tammy alone frequently. Her children said Tammy was constantly on the phone and trying to socialize. Tammy, possibly bored at home once her children were in school, began to answer phones for their friend Charlie Miller’s company.

After the first decade or so of marriage, Larry and Tammy seemed to have lost some of the spark in their relationship. Tammy started seeking attention from other men and attending social events without her husband. Larry’s family states that Tammy stopped coming to family events with Larry. The two seemed to have more arguments. These arguments intensified when Larry realized Charlie Miller was visiting his wife frequently, sometimes bringing her flowers. Larry confronted his best friend, telling him to stop giving flowers and gifts to his wife.

On one hunting trip in Mexico, Missouri, Larry had a bullet fly by his head, nearly striking him. Larry assumed it was an amateur hunter in the area who fired recklessly. However, it wasn’t very long after that incident when Larry was found dead from a gunshot to his head right before Thanksgiving of 2000. Larry’s death was suspicious, but it was unclear at first if it was a hunting accident or a crime.

The wooded area on La Roche Industries property where Larry was found was often used by employees for bow hunting. However, shot gun hunting was not allowed on the property. An article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch just days after Larry’s death read “The bullet entered the rear passenger window and struck Holman in the back of the head” (Rowden, 2000). Investigators suggested that it was possible someone was trespassing on the property and fired a shot while deer hunting, which accidently hit Larry Holman as he scouted for a spot to place his deer stand.

Larry’s funeral was held just after Thanksgiving at Vinyard Funeral Home in Festus and he was buried in Rose Lawn Memorial Gardens in Crystal City, Missouri. Just a few days after the funeral, the Holman children noticed a male friend of their mother’s hanging around the house. In fact, he was staying the night and relaxing in Larry’s recliner just a week after Larry’s death. Before long, Tammy moved the man in with her and the kids. The man was Tim Smith.

By the beginning of 2001, the investigation was still in progress as law enforcement tried to determine how Larry ended up shot in the head. “I think everybody is feelings a great sense of remorse, certainly at this time of year, and we’d like to get some closure to it” Randy Holman, Larry’s brother told a reported (Rowden, 2001). Investigators had very little evidence but were informed that an unknown vehicle had been spotted in the area. It was not evident if this was an accident or if foul play was involved. The area where Larry was found was just one mile from a shooting range, so an accidental shooting was a possibility. No one knew of any reason why anyone would want to harm Larry.

Larry Holman was an excellent provider, and ensured his family was provided for upon his death. Tammy brought paperwork to Larry’s brother for a one-million-dollar insurance policy Larry had through his employer. Unbeknownst to Tammy, the policy was a protection policy for the employer and not a life insurance policy payable to Larry’s wife. Tammy was able to collect $150,000 in life insurance after Larry’s death, however.

Meanwhile, a man named Tom was apparently harassing Tammy after she moved Tim Smith into her home. The stalking was so severe that Tammy filed a restraining order against Tom. Once Tim Smith moved into Tammy’s house, she also cut off most of her communication with Charlie Miller, with whom she had been super close to before her husband’s death. The odd behavior of the widow raised eyebrows.

Two months after Larry’s death, Kim Duncan, Tammy’s sister, reported to police that she thought Charlie Miller may have been involved in the death of Larry Holman. She said that Charlie had made several comments to her about Tammy, and she felt Charlie was obsessed and infatuated with Tammy Holman. Police decided to take a closer look at Larry’s best friend.

Police confiscated Charlie Miller’s hunting rifle, which ballistics proved to be the weapon used in the murder of Larry Holman. It didn’t take long before Charlie Miller confessed to shooting his best friend in the head. In fact, this was the second attempt. When Larry was nearly shot months earlier, it was Charlie behind the gun. Charlie not only confessed to the crime but provided a twist that no one was prepared for. Charlie told police that he was asked to kill Larry by Tammy Holman.

According to Charlie, he was having an affair and was in love with Tammy Holman. As it turned out, Tammy was having many affairs. She was having an affair with Charlie, Tom, and Tim while married to Larry. Charlie told police that Tammy planned the entire crime and told Charlie she would marry him once Larry was dead. Charlie was deeply in love with Tammy and decided to kill Larry so that the two could be together.

Charlie Miller and Tammy Holman were both arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Tammy Holman went to trial in 2002. Prosecutors presented Tammy’s motive as she was bored with her marriage but did not want a divorce because she feared losing custody of her children and she believed she would collect one million dollars upon Larry’s death. The prosecution felt Tammy took advantage of Charlie Miller, knowing he had strong feelings for her. However, once Larry was gone, Tammy cut Charlie off and moved on with another man she was having an affair with. They painted Tammy as a manipulative sociopath.

Tammy’s defense suggested that Charlie Miller acted alone and was obsessed with her. “Charlie Miller killed Larry Holman out of his own fanatical desire” the defense said (Rowden, 2003). Tammy and Charlie’s phone records showed they were in constant contact the day of the murder. Before the trial was over, however, the prosecution and defense came to a mutual agreement and Tammy was offered a plea deal. Tammy plead guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was given a sentence of seven years in prison. She was released from prison in 2009.

Charlie Miller was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against Tammy Holman. At his sentencing hearing, the defense said Charlie was on medications and was emotionally disturbed at the time of the crime (Vanapalli, 2021). Charlie was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and is currently serving his sentence at Tipton Correctional Center in Missouri.


This is a story of betrayal. Tammy Holman betrayed her husband and her children. Not only did she engage is several extramarital affairs, but then she plotted the death of her husband. She robbed three children of their father and got away with a mere seven years in prison. Charlie Miller betrayed his own wife and his best friend. Not only did he have an affair with his best friend’s wife, but he conspired with her to end his life. In the ultimate best friend betrayal, Charlie Miller fired the shot that ended Larry’s life. Neither sentence seems long enough.


References

Obituary (2000) Larry Wayne Holman. St. Louis Post Dispatch. 27 Nov 2000

Rowden, T. (2000) County assessor’s brother is found shot to death in car. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 27 Nov 2000

Rowden, T. (2001) Family of man found shot to death in car is waiting for answers. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 1 Jan 2001

Rowden, T. (2003) Man’s wife ordered killing, gunman says. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 29 Jan 2003

Rowden, T. (2003) De Soto man gets 25 years for Jefferson County murder. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 6 Sept 2003

Rowden, T. (2002) Trial set to begin for woman accused of plotting murder. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 7 Oct 2002

Vanapalli, V. (2021) Larry Holman murder: where are Tammy Holman and Charlie Miller now? Larry Holman Murder: Where Are Tammy Holman and Charlie Miller Now? Update (thecinemaholic.com)

FindAGrave (accessed 2022) Larry Wayne Holman. Larry Wayne Holman (1955-2000) - Find a Grave Memorial

Snapped Killer Couples (2018) Holman/Miller. Snapped Killer Couples Season 10 Episode 5

Ice Cold Killers (2017) Open Season. Ice Cold Killers Season 5 Episode 6

Fatal Vows (2015) Hunting Season. Fatal Vows Season 3 Episode 8

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