Independence man, 23, charged with killing his mom, using gun, baseball bat, butcher knife

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A 23-year-old Independence man has been charged with knowingly causing the death of his mother by shooting, stabbing and striking her in her Independence residence, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced on Monday.

Shane Harrelson, 23, accused of killing his mother in Independence on Saturday.

Shane Harrelson, 23, accused of killing his mother in Independence on Saturday.

Shane M. Harrelson faces Murder in the 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action charges.

According to court records, Harrelson shot Michelle R. Harrelson, beat her with a baseball bat and cut her with a butcher knife. When officers arrived on Saturday at the victim’s home in the 1300 block of E. Mechanic Avenue on Saturday at about 6 p.m., they were directed to a brush pile where they found the victim’s body. The defendant was in a detached garage working on a tattoo on his leg with the word “MOM.”

A neighbor of the victim called her a good neighbor and a caring mother.

When officers responded to the home, neighbor Chris Christman was cooking dinner for his 87-year-old mother. He says police and paramedics swarmed the house next door to his mom's. He said he, "heard a lot of police activity. Came out front and it was right next door."

Christman said the family who lives in the house moved in about a year ago and was working to buy the home. He said it was a man, a woman, and their 3 or 4-year-old daughter. He described them as a "really nice couple. They help me watch my mom if anything happens. Really nice, quiet. She babysits for other kids during the day."

According to the probable cause statement, detectives interviewed the 23-year-old son late Sunday morning about what happened to his mother. Detectives say the Harrelson had difficulty with focus and staying on subject. They wrote in the official document that he would often ramble 'with no purpose and the answers made no sense.'

Detectives say Harrelson told them he had 'vivid' memory of Saturday but would not elaborate. They say he showed no emotion when shown pictures of his mother's bludgeoned body.

Christman hopes police can pinpoint what happened to his mother's neighbor and that justice can be found for her husband and young daughter. "She was a real nice lady; always talking and helping out if you needed it. You always hate to hear something like this. It's a real bad situation."


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