Tarpoff given probation

Tuesday, September 9, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:02 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nick Tarpoff, a former Missouri defensive lineman, will serve no jail time for his felony conviction and is continuing his football career this season at a Division II school in Texas.

Judge Gene Hamilton suspended the imposition of Tarpoff’s sentence in Boone County Circuit Court on Monday, and Tarpoff received five years of supervised probation for possession of an illegal weapon.

Tarpoff pleaded guilty to the Class C felony on July 9 and was kicked off the football team.

On Feb. 19, he shot himself in the left arm with a .22-caliber handgun, but initially told police that a burglar shot him while trying to steal Tarpoff’s television. The next day Tarpoff changed his story after officers confronted him with several inconsistencies.

Tarpoff, 21, was charged Feb. 24 after he consented to a search of his house and police found a sawed-off shotgun in his room. The weapon was about 20 inches long with a barrel a little longer than 13 inches. The legal length of a shotgun is no less than 26 inches with an 18-inch barrel.

Under the conditions of Tarpoff’s probation, he cannot own a firearm and must complete 100 hours of community service.

After Hamilton outlined Tarpoff’s probation terms, he said, “Mr. Tarpoff, this case is kind of an example of how easy it is (to get caught) when you start to weave a spider web of lies.”

The maximum penalty for Tarpoff’s felony is seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Tarpoff said he was scared before Hamilton read his sentence.

“Anything could have happened,” he said. “I’m just glad it’s over.”

Tarpoff attends Texas A&M-Kingsville and is on the football team, according to the school’s sports information department. In the Javelinas’ 34-21 loss to Portland State on Thursday, Tarpoff played and had one tackle.

Tarpoff said he was attending school in Texas but declined to say which school.

He played in nine games for the Tigers in 2002 and had 21 tackles and one sack.

Tarpoff had no prior convictions. Dan Knight, Boone County assistant prosecuting attorney, said he thought the outcome was reasonable.

“I hope he does real well on probation,” Knight said. “I hope he does well playing football. I hope he can turn his life around a little bit. I hope he’s learned a big lesson.”

Tarpoff will switch probation officers within the next few weeks and serve his community service hours in Texas, according to Tarpoff’s attorney, Rusty Antel.

“I think it worked out very well, we’re both very pleased about how it turned out,” Antel said. “I thought Judge Hamilton’s decision was very fair.”

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