Son arrested after mother beaten, burned

Son arrested after mother beaten, burned

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - UPDATE: A man once considered a "person of interest" in a fire where his mother was injured is in jail.

According to court documents from Independence County, Shawn Alexander Harper, 40, of Batesville was arrested Sunday.

He faces felony charges of first-degree domestic battering and arson.

Batesville police were initially called to the Daffin Manor apartments, 355 14th St., by Valerie Harper just before 10 p.m. July 2.

Harper told police she was having problems with and was concerned about her son, Shawn Harper.

The mother, according to court documents, also told police her son was off his medication and reported a "strong chemical smell" inside her residence.

Harper told a Batesville patrolman she believed Shawn was using a synthetic substance.

The officer later transported the man to the White River Medical Center in Batesville to be checked out.

Then, just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday officers were called back to the same apartments for smoke.

An officer went into Valerie Harper's apartment and found her lying on the floor of a bedroom with "visible burns and other injuries to her body." The burned areas appeared to be intentionally set, according to investigators.

Patrolman Tommy Harper noted there appeared to be a struggle and apparent burn areas in the room.

When asked what had happened, Valerie Harper told police "Shawn did it," according to court documents.

She was taken to the White River Medical Center for treatment. That's where investigators found the woman was severely beaten and had numerous stab wounds in addition to being burned.

Harper was later transferred to a Little Rock hospital.

About an hour later, a deputy with the Independence County Sheriff's Department found Shawn Harper walking around Porter St.

He was taken into custody.

At the time of his arrest the deputy noted Harper was "shaking and talking incoherent." In addition, the officer said he heard Harper say, "My mother is evil."

During his interview at the Independence County Jail, Harper reportedly told officers with BPD and Arkansas State Police he did not harm his mother, but did see her "blow up" and "catch on fire."

According to court documents, Harper also said his mother was "pushing him to the limits" and that he had gone "through the strangest trip because of the chemicals."

Police state that toward the end of the interview Harper described his mother as a "wonderful person" and said "I let my depression go too far and I probably became psychologically imbalanced."

Officers noted Harper did have injuries to his hands and hip.

He remains in the Independence County Jail, according to online records.

Batesville police say a man is a "person of interest" in a fire that injured his mother.

Just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday, July 3, officers were called to a fire at the Daffin Manor apartments.

When officers arrived, they found water and smoke coming from under a door, according to a news release from the Batesville Police Department.

Police opened the door and found the victim "partially burned."

Officers and the apartment's night maintenance worker removed the victim and rendered first aid.

After making sure the fire was under control, police searched the apartment for other possible victims.

Officers knew the victim's son lived with her because they had dealt with him earlier in the evening, according to the report.

Independence County sheriff's deputies found him later near 20th Street.

He was held as a person of interest while officers investigate.

Police have not identified neither him nor the victim.

Special agents with the Arkansas State Police are assisting in the investigation.

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