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Former Playgirl model sentenced in beating death of San Diego gay man

By Ben Cartwright| San Diego Gay and Lesbian News
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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SAN DIEGO – Joshua James Larson, the former Playgirl model who was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the 2011 beating death of Jason “Cowboy” Huggins, was sentenced to an indefinite term of 19 years to life at a hearing today.

Larson appeared in front of Judge Theodore Weathers in a packed courtroom this morning, who delivered the sentence shortly after attorneys stated their sentencing requests.

Joshua James Larson, seen on a 2001 Playgirl cover.

No witnesses spoke at the sentencing, although prosecutor Makenzie R. Harvey said she had hoped to read a letter to the court from Huggins’ aunt, Jennifer Sanders, from Tennessee. Harvey said Sanders is not “technologically savvy” and was attempting to fax the letter but it did not arrive in time for the hearing.

Jim and Ruth Larson, parents of Joshua Larson, sat quietly throughout the 30-minute hearing, showing little emotion.

Defense attorney Peter Will stated that in the sentencing brief he filed, there were numerous letters in support for Larson from family members including his parents, cousins and others. The packet also included a copy of Larson’s honorable discharge papers from the Army. Will asked Judge Weathers for a “fair and just sentence,” noting that Larson’s past criminal history does not have any record of violent crimes, only drug use and possession charges.

Harvey, reminding Weathers that Larson’s crime was one of revenge for Huggins testifying against Larson in another criminal case, asked for more serious punishment, and requested two concurrent terms of five years and eight months, followed by an indeterminate term of 15 years to life.

On the three counts that Larson was charged with in September, Weathers sentenced him to an indeterminate term of 15 years to life for the murder charge, plus an additional year for using a deadly weapon, and on the second and third counts, three years for committing the crime as a separate act.

Jason “Cowboy” Huggins

During the June 22, 2011 crime, Larson first attacked Huggins’ friend Nathan Meza by hitting him in the head with a rock. Meza was able to crawl out of the canyon where the crime occurred to seek medical attention.

Larson then picked up another rock and viciously attacked Huggins, which led to his death two weeks later.

The total sentence for Larson will be an indeterminate term of 19 years to life. The California Victim Compensation Board was also seeking restitution for $4,844.49 for Huggins’ funeral and burial expenses, and Weathers ordered restitution.

Larson was relatively emotionless when his sentencing was read, but at the close of the hearing, he turned to his mother, who was seated behind him in the courtroom, and with a big grin on his face mouthed “I love you, mom.”

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