An Independence man who allegedly killed his mother more than three years ago and was tattooing the word “MOM” on his leg when police found him has apparently reached a plea agreement in his case.
Shane Harrelson, 26, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Oct. 24, 2015 death of his mother Michelle. At a pre-trial conference Dec. 6 with Circuit Judge Kenneth Garrett, attorneys scheduled a plea hearing for Jan. 17 at the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse in Independence.
The court ruled late in 2017 following a mental-health competency assessment that Harrelson was able to proceed to trial. He had been in the custody of the Department of Mental Health, according to court records.
Michelle Harrelson, 47, was found by her boyfriend that October 2015 day in a brush pile outside her Independence home. She had been shot, stabbed and beaten.
According to court documents, Michael Harrelson, Shane’s father and Michelle’s ex-husband, told police his son suffers from mental-health issues and in the past had been admitted to mental-health facilities for treatment.
When police arrived at the home, Michael Harrelson directed them to a brush pile where his ex-wife’s body was located. As they crossed the backyard, they found Shane Harrelson in a detached garage, free-handing a tattoo of “MOM” on his leg.
According to court documents, Michael Harrelson had called police after Michelle’s boyfriend, David Kimball, found Michelle’s body and called the ex-husband, asking him to come to the home. Kimball told police he had talked with Michelle Harrelson on the phone shortly after noon, then came home at about 4 p.m. and became concerned when he noticed her personal belongings and cellphone on the bed but could not find her.
Michelle’s daughter, Taylor Harrelson, said she had stayed there the previous night and the next day had rummaged in a storage area for personal belongings two different times. The second time, at about 1 p.m., she saw in plain view a handgun she said belonged to Shane that hadn’t been out among his belongings the first time. When she left the house about 1:30 p.m., Michelle encouraged Shane to leave with her, but he refused and Taylor left alone. She came back about 5:30 p.m. looking for her mother, talked with Kimball and then left.
A short time after, according to court documents, Kimball said Shane Harrelson entered the home and had blood, scrapes and a bandage on his right hand, which was also shaking nervously. Kimball then found Michelle Harrelson at the brush pile in the backyard and called Michael Harrelson, telling him that Shane had killed Michelle.
Officers said Shane at first ignored them and did not respond to commands to drop his tattoo gun come out of the garage but later complied and apologized, then thanked an officer “for the small talk,” said he would help in any way he could, and told them, “It must be tough coming to things like this.” They also saw blood on Shane’s hands, which again were shaking.
While searching the yard and the residence, police found plastic bags that contained rags, a wooden baseball bat, a kitchen butcher knife and cordless drill that all appeared to be covered in blood, human body traces, plus a loaded handgun that also appeared to have blood on it.
According to court documents, police could tell while interviewing Shane that he suffered from some type of mental issue based on his behavior, mannerisms and his rambling, non-sensical answers. Shane said he had a “vivid” memory and “kissed” his mom “goodbye” but would not elaborate on either statement.
Court documents said Shane told police that his mother “chastised him for being lazy and dirty.” He did not deny being responsible for his mother’s death but became agitated about police discussing his mother and showed no emotion when shown photos of the crime scene.