TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – KRQE News 13 is learning new details about the murder Taos business owner Patrick Larkin.
Court records show the motive involved a neighbor and Larkin’s goats. Police said Larkin’s body was found about a mile and a half away from the scene of the crime, dumped in a bush and riddled with bullets.
The 911 call came on Tuesday, August 27.
“There was an issue with the goats outside as he went to go check on them,” the 911 caller said. “He has not been seen since.”
Court documents show that Larkin left to tend to his livestock that morning. Police say he had recently and frequently been attacked by a dog owned by Larkin’s neighbor, Gregg Steele.
Larkin’s houseguest told investigators he heard a gunshot the morning Larkin went missing, suspecting Larkin was firing his rifle at the dog attacking the goats. That same morning, one of the goats was found mauled to death.
“It was determined that Larkin was shot by a 45-caliber handgun by Steele and after Larkin was shot, Steele took his 22-caliber long rifle,” Ofc. Dusty Francisco with New Mexico State Police said.
During interviews, a friend of Steele gave police a false alibi, recanted, and said Steele instructed him to lie. Steele’s ex-fiance told police that Steele frequently talked about how little he valued human life and how he desired to shoot people he disagreed with.
Due to these interviews and knowing Steele had access to weapons, police searched his truck and found trace amounts of blood matching Larkin’s DNA in the back.
“This is a high-profile case, and a significant event for the Taos community and a tragic event for the Taos community as well,” Ofc. Francisco said.
The man who owns the property where Steele was staying said Steele confessed to him about the murder.
The complaint stated that Steele confessed to transporting Larkin’s body in his pickup truck, and disposing of the murder weapon and Larkin’s rifle. No shell casings or weapons were found.
Steele was initially arrested on Wednesday, August 28 by the Taos County Sheriff’s Department on unrelated charges while he was a person of interest in the murder.
He was found at an abandoned house in Taos, where deputies said he fled the scene. Deputies found an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. He told deputies that is the reason he fled.
He was arrested and charged for open container and fleeing officers, but refused to answer questions without a lawyer. He was then arrested at his home by New Mexico State Police on Friday, September 13 for the murder without incident.
Steele had only moved in next to Larkin a few weeks prior. Steele is charged with second-degree murder, armed robbery and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors have filed a motion to keep Steele in jail until trial. That hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
He has a criminal record in California for indecent exposure and theft. He also has drug charges in the 1990s from Colorado and Arizona.