Copied from The Ahwatukee Foothills News

Harrod Sentenced to Death in Tovrea Slaying
By Doug Murphy
Staff Writer
May 30, 1998

Former Ahwatukee Foothills resident James "Butch" Harrod is the newest addition to Arizona's death row.

Judge Ronald Reinstein sentenced Harrod to death by lethal injection Wednesday, for his involvement in the murder of Phoenix socialite Jeanne Tovrea 10 years ago.

Said Reinstein, "Mitigation (reasons why Harrod should not get the death penalty) does not outweigh the aggravation of murder for hire."

As the sentence was being read, Harrod's family members sat quietly, showing no emotion.

Afterwards Harrod's mother, Marie Wollitz, said she wasn't surprised by the sentence. "We were told the day after he was arrested, by a very prominent attorney, he was on a conveyor belt to death row," she said. "The attorney would not take the case. They had to have a body."

Reinstein said that while there was neither evidence nor allegations that Harrod fired the five fatal shots into Tovrea as she slept in her exclusive home, he did plan the murder.

The judge ticked off Harrod's involvement for courtroom listeners, including contacting Tovrea under an assumed name and calling her home in advance of the killing; 18 fingerprints linking Harrod to the murder scene, showing that he was in the home the night of the murder, and wire transfers from stepson Edward "Hap" Tovrea Jr., showing that Harrod was paid to plan the shooting.

"A murder for hire," said Reinstein, "long planned and calculated. It's beyond the norm."

Hap Tovrea's name was a constant during the trial. It was alleged by the prosecuting attorneys that Hap Tovrea had offered Harrod $100,000 to kill his stepmother, so that the younger Tovrea could inherit a substantial amount of money from his father's estate.

Bill Culbertson, one of two prosecuting attorneys, would only say that the probe into Hap Tovrea's role was "still ongoing and is still very much a viable investigation."

Harrod's former wife, Anne Costello, said Harrod had told her that Hap Tovrea had hired him to kill his stepmother, and that Harrod had in turn hired "Michael" and "Tommy" to do the actual killing. Costello was granted immunity in return for her testimony.

No charges have been brought against Hap Tovrea and the identities of "Michael" and "Tommy" are unknown, although several unidentified fingerprints were found by investigators in the Tovrea home the day after the murder.

For Debbie Luster, daughter of Jeanne Tovrea, the sentencing brought some relief. She thanked the prosecutors and detectives who investigated the case for giving "me and my family our lives back."

She said she also was thankful that the investigation will continue, apparently alluding to Hap Tovrea's involvement. She added that she hoped the sentencing of Harrod would be just the first step in "righting this wrong."

Luster also said that she was sorry "Mr. Harrod destroyed his life and his family's life and my family's life. There was nothing good about this."

With appeals, it could be years before Harrod is executed at the Arizona State Prison in Florence.

The Tovrea Homepage
The Jeanne Tovrea Murder Listing
31. (page 115) Butch Harrod and the Tovrea Kid