Man Charged in Slaying of His Mother

Man Charged in Slaying of His Mother

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A 34-year-old man said by relatives to have schizophrenia has been charged with first-degree felony murder and desecration of a body in the death of his mother.

According to charging documents filed Thursday, Matthew Kirkham said he hit his mother in the head with a rock and made her breathe paint from a bag until she died.

The body of 72-year-old Joeann Kirkham was found Sunday in a blood-spattered bedroom in Kearns.

The state Medical Examiner's Office said 15 rib fractures and a severed spinal cord were inflicted after the woman died.

While in police custody, Kirkham spontaneously uttered that he had been in a physical altercation with his mother because she was going to kick him out of the Kearns home, the documents said.

One of the woman's neighbors told a detective she saw the mother and son arguing in their front yard Saturday morning. Matthew Kirkham allegedly grabbed his mother's arm forcefully, and she said she would call police if he did it again.

On Sunday, a neighbor saw Kirkham driving his mother's car. She knew the woman did not allow her son to drive the car. She called the woman's daughter, who went with other family members to the house and found the body.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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