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Police say man confessed to IHOP intern that he killed stepdad

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bryon Harvey, 41, is in jail Thursday night and now charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his step-father, Hal Cornell III.

According to a probable cause statement, police arrested Harvey at the International House of Prayer Wednesday night after they say he confessed to a church intern that he killed Cornell. Security officers who overheard the confession contacted police to respond to the church.

Prosecutors say 70-year-old Cornell was killed Saturday night from a blow to the head. His body wasn't discovered until Tuesday and was in the swimming pool behind their house.

Tuesday morning on a quiet south Kansas City street, police were called to the home in 109000 block of Poplar Ave. by a woman who said she found her husband dead in the backyard pool.

Investigators determined Cornell had been dead for at least a few days and immediately called it a 'suspicious death.' Court documents say Cornell’s wife had been staying next door with her daughter.

Police say Cornell had been staying at the home with his step-son Harvey. According to police, Harvey was arrested Wednesday night after walking into the International House of Prayer church and confessing to killing his stepdad to a church intern after speaking for about an hour.

Court documents state that Harvey said he and Cornell got into an argument Saturday night. Harvey told police Cornell pointed a gun at him, so he struck him with a hammer.

When Harvey walked away he heard his Cornell moving in the bushes, so he again approached, this time hitting him with a sledge-hammer.

Harvey told police he then carried the body to the back of the house and threw it in the swimming pool.

Cornell was found three days later by his wife, who had been called to the home to check on her husband after other family members said they hadn’t seen or heard from him.

An interesting fact, Kansas City’s South Patrol Police Department confirmed they were called to the home the night before Harvey says he killed Cornell on a report of a prowler.

Police say nothing out of the ordinary was found. Harvey is now in jail and being held on a $250,000 bond.

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5 comments

  • Julie

    He didn’t confess to a priest in a Catholic church. He confessed to an intern at the International House of Prayer. I only know of Catholic church in cannon law forbids the disclosure of the confessional. From Canon Law:
    Can. 983 §1. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.”

    Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 2490 , “…It is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason”

    • Melinda Squibblyy Mullens

      I was aware that this is only the rule within Cathoholic churches at the time of my post (as far as I know it is only Catholic anyways), however I did not do any research to clarify if this was a Catholic church or if the intern has any priest title before making my comment. Thank you for pointing that out to me. After seeing your comment, I have looked around and found that is was not a Catholic church and the intern had no priest title. That was a fault on my behalf. Thank you.