First court date for alleged killer

Dave LaPorte

ST JOHNS—Accused murderer Dave Allen LaPorte, 54, appeared in the Apache County Superior Court last Wednesday for a probable cause hearing in front of Judge C. Allan Perkins. LaPorte was arrested on Nov. 2 on three charges including first degree murder, a Class 1 felony, concealing a dead body and tampering with evidence. He is presumed to be innocent.

On October 30, LaPorte came to the attention of the St. Johns Police Department by calling them to report that his wife, Tessy Lou LaPorte, 49, was missing. Officers responded to his residence in the 800 block of West 2nd Place North in St. Johns to a situation there that, as the police like to say, “JDLR,” or just doesn’t look right. Conversation with LaPorte and “evidence within the home,” the police say, caused La Porte to barricade himself into the home. He then apparently slit his own throat.

After the hearing on Wednesday, St Johns Police Chief Lance Spivey sat down with the Independent. He said that LaPorte was ultimately persuaded to give up and that one of Spivey’s new officers, on the job for only 11 months, de-escalated the situation by convincing LaPorte to allow the officers in, if for no other reason, to get LaPorte medical attention, and fast. He had lost a lot of blood. Spivey said that he is exceedingly proud of his team’s performance and said that the officer who did most of the talking was a former acquaintance of LaPorte from high school. It could have ended far differently, the chief observed.

The police did gain entrance, and La Porte was rushed to a medical facility in the Valley. He was released and on Nov. 5 was booked into the Apache County Jail on a $2 million cash bond. Mrs. LaPorte’s body was ultimately found “in the area,” authorities said.

The St. Johns Police Department and the many other agencies which helped out with this investigation are not releasing any further details at this point. At the hearing, lead Prosecutor Garrett Whiting explained to the judge that the case was “complex,” and that his office had yet to provide any disclosure to LaPorte’s counsel, Bryce Hamblin, but would as soon as it is ready.

LaPorte, whose wrists were chained at the waist and ankles, is a small man, with dark hair. He appeared unkempt and unshaven as he sat a the defense table with his lawyer. La Porte was dressed in jail-issue clothing, orange pants and a striped tunic, like the other detainees. Unlike the others however, was the literally ear-to-ear gash along his throat held together with about 30 bright metal staples. The hearing was rescheduled to Dec. 9.

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