Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Hearing held for murder suspects, Northwest remembers fallen student with ceremony

This is an update to an earlier story about the death of SigEp Tomarkin Smith.

Hearing held for murder suspects, Northwest remember fallen student with ceremony - Northwest Missourian: Community

Northwest will remember the spirit of a fallen student with a bell ringing ceremony Dec. 14 at 10:30 a.m.

After a late-night altercation, Kevin D. Mooney, 31, and Tony M. Overlin, 23, of Bethany, Mo., were charged with second degree murder and felony assault in the death of Tomarken Smith Sept. 14.

A preliminary hearing for Mooney on Tuesday afternoon was attended by many Sigma Phi Epsilon members and included testimonies from Sgt. Rick Smail, Maryville Public Safety, witness Kenny Forrester, witness Matthew Reynolds and Sig Ep member Colby Branstine, a close friend of Smith. Smail testified that he did not see who started the altercation inside Molly’s between Overlin and Smith, but he did identify the men running from the scene outside to be Overlin and Mooney. Overlin was often referred to as “the man with tattoos” and was said to be the one whom Smith pushed down in the bar and who, according to Forrester and Reynolds, was the first to assault Smith outside. The defendant, Mooney, was identified by all witnesses, and according to Forrester and Reynolds, was the one who hit Smith to the ground.

The hearing was completed and is under advisement. Judge Corey Keith Herron will make the decision on whether the case will move to circuit court. No date was released for when this information will be available.

On the three-month anniversary of Smith’s passing, there will be a bell ringing ceremony. The bell ringing will be followed by the commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. in Bearcat Arena where Smith’s family will be accepting a posthumous degree on Smith’s behalf. This degree recognizes the achievement of students who have died and completed most of their curriculum.

Northwest President John Jasinski said he recognizes the whole community has been greatly impacted by Tomarken’s passing this fall, therefore, it is appropriate to honor his memory with next week’s bell ringing.

“He was deeply engaged in the University culture through his coursework, membership in his fraternity and as a student employee,” Jasinski said.

Sigma Phi Epsilon President Chase Adams said after everything his chapter and Tomarken’s family have been through with this tragedy, this is some of the best news they have received.

“Tomarken was a remarkably dedicated individual, and he really wanted to be the first person in his family to graduate from college,” Adams said. “Although T.O. is gone, his family can forever be proud of his accomplishments and hold in their possession what Tomarken was striving for: a college degree. I can’t wait to see the smile on his mother’s face. I know she is going to be so proud.”