A Missouri man who allegedly murdered his mother after she chastised him for being “lazy and dirty” was found by police tattooing the word “Mom” on his leg near the body of the dead woman, according to court documents.
Police responding to a 911 call at an Independence home on Saturday discovered the body of Michelle Harrelson, 47, in a compost pile “saturated in what appeared to be blood,” according to a probable cause statement. She had been shot, beaten with a baseball bat and cut with a butcher knife, prosecutors said.
The woman’s ex-husband, Michael Harrelson, frantically told officers that his and the victim’s son, 23-year-old Shane Harrelson, “was out of control,” and they found him “‘free handling’ the word ‘Mom’ on his left inner thigh” in a detached garage near the body of his mother, the court paper said.
Shane Harrelson, who family told officials has a history of mental health issues, allegedly continued to work on the tattoo as the crime scene was secured and initially ignored police’s orders to drop the tattoo gun and come out of the garage, the statement said.
“I’m sorry for ignoring you earlier,” he allegedly told police, thanking them for “the small talk.”
“It must be tough coming to things like this,” the suspect also said, according to the probable cause statement.
Shane Harrelson seemed excited and nervous as he was being handcuffed, police said, reporting that he had blood and tattoo ink on his hands. There also appeared to be blood stains on the back of his gym shorts, officials said.
Near the victim’s body, police allegedly found two trash bags containing seemingly bloody rags, a bloody wooden baseball bat, a bloody kitchen butcher knife, spent shell casings and human teeth.
A cordless drill with a cut off wheel covered in blood, human hair and bone fragments was found inside the home, as well as another spent shell casing and a bloody, loaded handgun, the probable cause statement said.
Michelle Harrelson’s live-in boyfriend David Kimball later told detectives that he came home about 4 p.m. and found the back door open and his girlfriend’s cellphone on their bed, but no one was inside.
The suspect’s sister, Taylor Harrelson, was home earlier in the day and told investigators she saw a small, black and silver semi-automatic handgun that she said belonged to her brother out in the open.
When she was readying to leave about 1:30 p.m., Taylor Harrelson’s mother encouraged Shane Harrelson to go with his sister, she told police.
But he refused to leave the home, so Taylor Harrelson left her mother and brother at the home, she said.
She came three hours later to see her mother and found Kimball worrying about the woman’s whereabouts, but left before her mother and brother were found.
After Taylor Harrelson left, Kimball said Shane Harrelson came into the home and told him that his mother had chastised him for being “lazy and dirty,” the statement said.
“Then she did what she did,” Shane Harrelson reportedly continued, at which point Kimball realized the young man had blood, scrapes and a bandage on his shaking right hand.
Kimball eventually found his girlfriend’s body and called her ex-husband to tell him what happened.
Michael Harrelson rushed to the house and found his son in the garage.
“Hey, bud,” he called to his son, but was ignored.
Michael Harrelson then found his ex-wife’ body and called 911.
“What are you doing here?” Shane Harrelson then asked his father, who told detectives that his son had been admitted to mental health facilities for treatment in the past.
“It was apparent…that the Defendant suffered from some type of mental health issues based on his mannerisms and behavior,” said a detective who interviewed Shane Harrelson, according to the probable cause statement.
“The Defendant would often ramble with no purpose and the answers made no sense” and though he said he had a “vivid” memory of what he had done, Shane Harrelson would not elaborate, the statement said.
He claimed he “kissed” his mom “goodbye,” but would not elaborate and allegedly “became more agitated, rigid and distant; staring off into the room, clinching his jaw and contorting his face” when he was asked about his mother.
“The Defendant showed no emotion when he observed the photo’s(sic) of the Victim’s bludgeoned bloody face and body,” the statement said.
Shane Harrelson was charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his mother, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office said.
Information for his attorney was not available.
Those who knew the suspect at a happier time were stunned by the news.
“Is this the same Shane Harrelson that wrested at Fort Osage? Anyone know?” one man wrote on Facebook.
“Yes it is … he looks way different,” someone replied.
“He used to be a good kid. We were friends in middle school, this is so sad!” another commenter wrote.
The victim’s son and suspect’s brother also took to the social media site, angered by the interest in his family’s tragedy.
“Just want everyone too(sic) know I will not be accepting the 45 friend request everyone has sent me nor will I give you any sort of details about the death of my mother... you guys might all say you're here too talk.. but your(sic) really out to get the materials to gossip.. Soo I guess thanks for your concern but no I'm good,” the man wrote.