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Former Playgirl model faces charges in beating death of San Diego gay man

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SAN DIEGO – The former Playgirl model accused in the brutal beating death of Jason “Cowboy” Huggins is scheduled to appear in court twice over the next two weeks.

Joshua James Larson, seen on a 2001 Playgirl cover.

Joshua James Larson, 37, is scheduled to appear at a felony readiness conference at 8:30 am Friday, Feb. 24, followed by a court date at 9 am Thursday, March 1. Both appearances will be at San Diego Superior Court’s Central Division at the downtown County Courthouse.

Larson has been charged with murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He faces 25 years to life if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Attempts to reach Larson’s defense counsel Peter Will were unsuccessful.

Hillcrest residents who know Larson say that he is a 2001 Playgirl cover boy who was living with his girlfriend at the time of the slaying. One acquaintance sent San Diego Gay & Lesbian News a photograph of the Playgirl cover on which Larson was featured, but asked not to be identified out of safety concerns.

Cowboy was a beloved member of San Diego’s large LGBT community. The tall and lanky man was a fixture in the Hillcrest and North Park gayborhoods, wearing his trademark cowboy hat, boots and big belt buckle.

On June 12, 2011, Larson is accused of bludgeoning Huggins in the head with a rock in a canyon near the 1300 block of Washington Street in Hillcrest, where the homeless Cowboy was living at the time. Community members organized vigils for Cowboy, but Huggins died two weeks later on July 6.

Prosecutors are expected to present a motive of revenge, because Huggins had testified against Larson during a criminal trial.

Jason Huggins

Huggins was born in Clarksville, Tenn., and was mostly raised by a grandmother. He moved to Garland, Texas, outside of Dallas, where he embraced the cowboy lifestyle. About a decade ago, he moved to San Diego, where he had his ups and downs.

SDGLN Staff Writer Ben Cartwright wrote the obituary for Higgins, noting that:

Friends say Huggins was homeless prior to his death, but was proud of who he was and loved living in San Diego.

“I am true cowboy from TN now living in sunny San Diego, CA,” Huggins wrote on his Google.com profile page.

Huggins, who was very open about his life, also posted “I am gay and have HIV too.”

In the “Bragging Rights” section of his profile Huggins said “[I] came out of the closet to all my redneck friends back in TN and was accepted because I am still a great friend that never overstepped my boundaries.”

The brutality of the slaying of Huggins shocked San Diego’s LGBT community. Dozens of friends and relatives gathered at the hospital where Cowboy was taken after being found bloody from being repeatedly beaten in the head with a large rock. He died two weeks later surrounded by family members after doctors removed the life-support system.

© San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. Just cause he’s a model, he thinks he can kill people?! He should enjoy his prison time..

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 12:28am
  2. Oh Im sure he’ll have some fans waiting for him in there, and to think I used to like this magazine….YUCK

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 12:30am
  3. Wth! What’s wrong wit ppl nowadays? :( that’s horrible.. I hate insensitive assholes!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 12:31am
  4. As a SD resident I’m outraged!!! As a gay man I’m outraged even more!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 12:45am
  5. he will make a good bitch in prison

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 12:59am
  6. Que pendejo. Viva la paz.

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 1:13am
  7. Former Playgirl turned CONVICT.

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 1:13am
  8. Its bullshit to kill any1 because of who they r

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:04am
  9. But since he has. $$$$$$$$$$ he will get off it

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:14am
  10. Wow

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:28am
  11. OMFG

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 3:02am
  12. Another senseless HATE CRIME committed by a homophobic egomaniac. I hope he enjoys life in prison, the monster.

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 3:04am
  13. I really can’t believe I just read that!! What is wrong with people??!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 3:25am
  14. -( ….<3

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 3:42am
  15. Piece-of-shit! I hope he receives a, “Hate-Crime,” enhancement!

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 4:59am
  16. Asshole.

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 5:04am
  17. Horrible!!! I hope he gets it back while he rots in jail.

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 5:17am
  18. Disgusting

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 7:06am
  19. Well let’s see how long it takes for them to “make” him a bottom.

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 7:12am
  20. Slimebag!

    Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 7:21am