Trial date set for Collinsville man accused of killing ex-girlfriend, seriously injuring man

Chris Smith survived the execution-style killing in November of 2021, as he continues to suffer from partial paralysis on the left side of his body.
The Illinois man accused in the vicious attack of his ex-girlfriend and another man will stand trial in October.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:56 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Illinois man accused in the vicious attack of his ex-girlfriend and another man will stand trial in October.

Robert Tarr is charged with first degree murder and attempted murder after investigators say he killed Leslie Reeves, 45, and shot Chris Smith, 50, at Smith’s Farmersville home on Nov. 24, 2021.

“I don’t remember anything from that night, other than driving past my buddy’s home around 4:45 and my gut was telling me, just stay in or go over to St. Louis,” Smith said. “First time in my life I don’t listen to my gut and this happens.”

Smith said investigators believe Tarr was following Reeves and Smith home from the local bar. Smith said he met Reeves earlier in the day.

“He broke in the backdoor, shot me in the head, left me for dead,” Smith said.” I laid on the floor for 14 hours approximately before they found me Thanksgiving morning.”

When friends and family hadn’t heard from the pair on Thanksgiving Day, police performed a welfare check and discovered Reeves deceased and Smith barely clinging to life.

“They told us he wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t smile, nothing,” said Sharon Costanza, Smith’s mom.

Smith survived several initial surgeries to relieve the swelling on his brain, with doctors leaving the bullet in his head to minimize damage.

In the months that followed, Smith progressed much to the shock of his doctors, despite suffering several strokes and partial paralysis.

“The biggest hurdle I’ve had to come to grips with is I miss everything,” said Smith. “I miss my job, I miss my house, I miss my garden, I miss playing with my kids, just missing everything. I say this sometimes, I had my life taken from me without being killed.”

Six months after being released from the hospital, Smith tackled outpatient therapy and works out at the gym everyday in an attempt to regain some of his strength. He’s now able to walk without a cane, but uses it often to help with balance.

“I’m ready to run, ready to be normal, and I’ll keep doing whatever it takes to get back to there,” he said. “All the little things we take for granted. Life is too short, you have to live it to the fullest.”

Last fall, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney announced two new charges against Tarr, alleging he took part in a murder-for-hire plot to have Smith and a lead investigator on the case killed.

“What he doesn’t realize is I don’t remember anything from that night,” Smith said. “I’m a firm believer in karma, what comes around goes around so he will get his, he will.”

Tarr is scheduled to go to trial for the murder charges on Oct. 16. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Smith hopes to undergo spinal implant surgery in the coming weeks, aiming to restore function to the left side of his body.

“Hopefully I’ll be running just like Forest Gump!” he laughed.

Until then, Smith said he will continue to work on regaining his strength and hopes to share his story with students and young people across St. Louis as a motivational speaker.

To contact Chris about a speaking engagement, email him at