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Doniphan men accused of killing sex offender, burning his body

9-2-2016 Missouri:

DONIPHAN, Mo. — Two Doniphan men were charged Tuesday night after authorities say they admitted they shot a sex offender to death and burned his body in April.

Matthew Brandon Bruce, 29, and Michael G. “Mick” Harris, 59, were charged Tuesday with the first-degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.

The men are accused of acting together to cause the April 26 death of Jonathan Tarvin.

The 34-year-old was reported missing April 26 by an associate, according to a probable-cause statement filed by Ripley County chief deputy Richie Phillips.

“Mr. Tarvin was reported to have been last seen in the company of Michael G. Harris and Matthew ‘Brandon’ Bruce,” Phillips said. “A check on Tarvin’s Social Security financial account revealed no activity, other than deposits, since he was reported missing.

“No one has heard from or seen Tarvin since he was last seen with Harris and Bruce.”

April 26, Phillips said, Harris and his wife “called in” wanting Tarvin removed from her mother’s home “because he was a sex offender.

“They called back, and they were told a deputy would be out to check on it.”

Tarvin reportedly was convicted in July 1998 of aggravated sexual assault on a child in Bell, Texas, and according to a national sexual registry, his last known address was Longview, Texas.

He apparently was not registered in Missouri.

Phillips said Harris reported he did not want Tarvin living with his mother-in-law, and “he wanted him removed. Michael then said: ‘I will take care of it myself.’”

On Tuesday, Phillips said, investigators interviewed several witnesses who told them “about an altercation that occurred between Tarvin, Harris and Bruce” at a residence on Highway 21 just south of Route A.

“The altercation was over the fact that Tarvin was staying with Harris’ mother-in-law, and they found out Tarvin was a sex offender,” Phillips said.

Harris and Bruce also were interviewed Tuesday, Phillips said, and “subsequently told investigators that they were responsible for Tarvin’s homicide.”

“Harris told investigators Bruce shot Tarvin with a shotgun, and Bruce said Harris shot Tarvin with a pistol” before the two men used Bruce’s four-wheeler to drag Tarvin’s body to a “wood-slab pile,” which they set on fire.

Phillips said investigators were told Tarvin’s body was burned, and his remains were on Bruce’s property behind his residence in a large burn pile.

“Bruce took investigators to his residence and demonstrated how the homicide occurred,” Phillips said. “During the initial search of the burn pile, pieces of bone fragments were found in the area of the burn pile where Bruce said Tarvin’s body was burnt.”

Those bone fragments will be sent to the crime lab for analysis, Phillips said.

Bruce and Harris, who are being held without bond in the Doniphan City Jail, appeared before Associate Circuit Judge Thomas Swindle for arraignment.

Both are scheduled to appear before Swindle again at 9 a.m. Wednesday for review of their cases. ..Source.. by Michelle Friedrich

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