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Suspect pleads guilty to murder charge in Cape Girardeau

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (Heartland News at 9) - A Cape Girardeau man has pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder in connection to a shooting that happened in 2016.

According to Cape Girardeau County Judge Gardner's office, Tavious Tipler pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge in the case of Airious Darling.

Darling was shot to death while holding a baby on March 31, 2016.

Tipler's original first-degree murder charge was amended when he pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder charge on Jan. 2, 2018.

Sentencing for Tipler will be held at the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in front of Judge Gardner on March 9 at 10:30 a.m.

Investigators said Darling, 28, was not the intended target. He was found shot to death on the front porch of the home at 612 Locust.

Tipler, who was 19 at the time of the crime, was originally charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first degree endangering the welfare of a child. His bond was set at $500,000 cash only.

According to Cape Girardeau police, Tipler was taken into custody on April 2 on an unrelated charge of second-degree robbery, which allegedly occurred between Jan. 1-15 at 612 Locust in Cape Girardeau.

Officers were called to the home on Locust around 9 p.m. the night of the shooting. They found Darling dead on the porch with what appeared to be a gunshot to the face. Police say they also found one spent bullet casing, believed to be from the bullet that killed Darling.

According to court documents, police learned Darling did not live at the home, but did live within walking distance. The documents said Darling is a friend of the homeowner and had been babysitting the man's one-year-old daughter that evening.

When Darling was in the process of returning the child to the home, police say he was shot and killed on the front porch. They say no one was inside the home at the time of the shooting.

According to the probable cause statement, officers were able to talk to the homeowner and believe he was the actual target for the shooting.

The homeowner allegedly told officers that between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15, three men forced their way into his house where they allegedly assaulted and robbed him.

He said that just weeks before Darling's murder, he saw one of the suspects walking on the street and identified him as Tavious Tipler.

Court documents show the robbery victim talked to Tipler about the crime and "told Tipler that he knew who Tipler was."

The man told officers he believed Tipler intended to shoot him in retaliation, but that Tipler mistakenly shot and killed Darling while Darling was on his front porch holding his daughter.

Officers also talked to Tipler's girlfriend.

She reportedly told them she bought a handgun and multiple magazines the day before the murder, including one extended magazine.

Court documents show that the woman claimed that she noticed the gun was missing on the morning of the murder.

Officers said the gun is the same caliber as what was believed to have been used to commit the murder.

During the interview, the woman reportedly admitted to officers that Tipler told her he shot a man and maybe killed him.

In addition to Tipler's arrest, police say Maishael A. Miles, 18, of Sikeston was arrested for second degree robbery in connection with the incident in January on Locust. Her bond was set at $50,000 cash only.