Howell County News/Shawn Witzemann

Grandson Confesses to Murder

He told law enforcement “life has just been so hard emotionally and mentally for the both of them.”

A Mountain View man confessed to murdering his grandmother after firefighters found her body in a structure fire yesterday afternoon. Jacob Hearne, 19, is facing first degree murder and arson charges and two counts of armed criminal action.

Mountain View Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire yesterday shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Falck St, as recorded on radio traffic. Several area fire departments responded to the scene as well due to the nature of the call.

By 2:20 p.m., firefighters located the body of Phyllis Schweinel, 62, inside the trailer home. Circumstances surrounding the death prompted first responders to request a fire marshal at that time.

Hearne resided in the trailer home with his grandmother and had lived with her for ten years. According to the accused, the victim was more like a mother to him than a grandmother, reads a probable cause statement filed by Sgt. Garrett Loring of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Sgt. Loring interviewed Hearne shortly after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Hearne described quarrells he and his grandmother had been having recently. He told law enforcement “life has just been so hard emotionally and mentally for the both of them.”

In the course of the interview, Hearne suggested that his grandmother wanted his help ending her life. He said she took several prescription pills and that he “waited for her to pass out” before lighting a jacket on fire at the gas range and draping it over the chair where his grandmother slept. The chair quickly became engulfed in flames, and Hearne left the residence.

At the time of this report, Hearne is being held without bond. There are no pending court dates at this time.

Shawn Witzemann and Marsha Asberry contributed to this report.
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