Stepson is charged in hammer death of south Kansas City man found in pool

05/15/2014 9:18 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

The stepson of a 70-year-old man found dead Tuesday in a backyard swimming pool told police he killed his stepfather with a hammer, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Bryon C. Harvey, 41, is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

The Jackson County medical examiner ruled that Hal D. Cornell died of blunt force trauma. His body was found in a partially filled pool at 10924 Poplar Ave.

According to court records, Cornell’s mother became concerned when she had not seen her son since Saturday. Cornell’s wife, who lived next door to Harvey, said Harvey took her to the pool on Tuesday and showed her the body. Police said Harvey told them he discovered the body a couple of days earlier and didn’t know what to do, so he left it there. He said he was building a casket in the basement.

The next day, Harvey allegedly confessed to an intern at the International House of Prayer church that he had killed his stepfather. Court documents say Harvey then told police he and his stepfather got into a fight Saturday night and the older man had a gun. Harvey allegedly said he hit his stepfather with a hammer and then with a sledgehammer before throwing the body into the pool.

Prosecutors requested a cash bond of $250,000.

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to

Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service