Teenager Who Burned Down Home With His Grandmother Inside Told Police She Asked Him To Help Her Die: Report

Source: Howell County Jail; MEGA

Apr. 25 2022, Published 11:08 a.m. ET

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A Missouri teenager told police he started a fire to help his grandmother kill herself was charged with first-degree murder, according to a report.

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Jacob Hearne, 19, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree arson and abandonment of a corpse in the death of 62-year-old Phyllis Schweinel, his grandmother, reports.

Hearne told police that Schweinel took Xanax and asked him to light a jacket on fire to make her death look accidental. Missouri State Highway Patrol police said Fire Marshals found Schweinels body in the homeon April 19. Highway patrolmen deemed the incident suspicious, according to

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Police say Hearne returned to the home later that afternoon. An investigator began to interview Hearne about the incident and the teenager said he lived with his grandmother for the last 10 years, referring to her as a mother figure to him, the news outlet reports.

Hearne told police the morning of the incident that he overslept, and his grandmother was "giving him crap." He told the investigator that his Schweinel was angry that he missed a money-making opportunity, according to

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Hearne told police that while he was walking home a cop called him and told him that his grandmother had died in a fire at the home. “We fought all the time and stuff, but we loved each other," he said, reports.


Hearne told police that his grandmother wanted to kick him out of the house but couldn't because he had legal residency there. He said the two fought the night before and Schweinel told him she wanted to die and be with family in heaven.

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The teenager denied killing his grandmother, adding that she was his hero. Hearne said he believed Schweinel killed herself, reports.

According to police documents, Hearne said Schweinel asked him to help end her life before she took five or six Xanax pills so she would not feel pain during the fire. Hearne said he waited for his grandmother to pass out, then took one of her jackets and used a gas range to light it on fire, according to the news outlet.

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Hearne told police that he then placed the jacket behind a chair his grandmother was in and left the home, adding that he was worried he wouldn't make it out because the chair was engulfed in flames immediately, according to

Hearne told police he regretted what he did and would have walked away and let his grandmother calm down. “I wanted to stop it but it was just too late,” he said, according to police documents.

Source: Howell County Jail; MEGA

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