Niles man faces murder, gun charges in Tarwacki deaths

October 18, 2012|WSBT-TV Report

NILES – The man accused in a double murder in Niles two and a half years ago is now facing two felony murder charges and gun charges.

Police first contacted Kieth Lintz Jr., 28, or Niles almost 1 week after the Feb. 5, 2010 murders, and he was a person of interest in the case ever since. The investigation eventually spanned 4 states, 725 tips, and more than 300 interviews.

Lintz appeared via video conference in front of a Cass County judge Thursday morning. He was charged with two counts of felony murder and carrying a firearm to commit a felony. The charges of first degree murder carry a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The judge did not post bond for Lintz, meaning he'll sit in jail until his next hearing.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz accused him of stabbing John Tarwacki ten times and shooting him twice. Fitz said he stabbed Carolyn Tarwacki four times, shot her twice and she was beaten severely in the face. 


Fitz said Lintz had beaten two other people in the past – one a woman in south bend. She had a facial beating similar to Carolyn Tarwacki.

Lintz has an extensive criminal history. According to Berrien County police, he has been arrested several times since 2004. Most of the arrests were for operating while intoxicated. 

"Lost a lot of sleep"

WSBT's Kelli Stopczynski was at Thursday morning’s news conference. She asked if it was frustrating knowing they had their guy from the beginning, but not being able to make an arrest for two and a half years.

“Lost a lot of sleep, I can tell you that," said Det. Lt. Chuck Christensen with Michigan State Police.

Investigators uncovered many people who claim Lintz confessed the Tarwacki murders to them.

The murders

It was in that morning when a man parked his car on Yankee St. near Carberry Rd, just outside the east Niles city limits, hiked a short distance through a wooded area, jumped a fence to the backyard of the Tarwackis and entered their home at 979 Carberry through the back door.

Within minutes the couple, married just three years, was dead. The killer retraced his steps to his car and drove away, leaving unanswered who he was along with his motive.

The Tarwackis, both employed by the music education company Quinlan & Fabish in Stevensville, were expected at a business meeting that morning, but never arrived.

The next court date is October 31 at 1:30 p.m. Then November 1 at 1:30 p.m.

WSBT was at the arraignment and news conference, and will be following this story through the day. Stay with us for the latest on air and online.

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