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Man allegedly shot and killed his stepmother on Father’s Day over missing cats – and then died in jail

David Lee Mabry appears in a mugshot

David Lee Mabry appears in a mugshot after being arrested for killing his stepmother; he later died in jail in June 2023. (Berrien County Jail)

A 60-year-old man who allegedly killed his 57-year-old stepmother during an altercation on Father’s Day died in a jail cell days later.

David Lee Mabry stood accused of an open murder charge in the death of his stepmother Mary Mabry in Michigan. She was killed on Sunday; he was arrested hours later and arraigned on Monday, various local media outlets reported. He was also facing charge of one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

His bond was set at $1 million, and he was unable to post the amount at the time.

That issue, however, was quickly rendered moot: On Tuesday, David Lee Mabry was found dead in his jail cell.

The since-deceased defendant pulled out a handgun, and, without any provocation whatsoever, shot and killed his younger stepmother while she sat on her patio at the family home on Russell Road in Baroda Township, a tiny village located near the Indiana border, South Bend-based CBS/Fox affiliate WSBT reported. After the incident, the woman’s husband was reportedly able to disarm the shooter before he ran away and fled the scene in an automobile.

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“[T]he suspect had left the scene and they quickly went into search mode, trying to find and arrest the suspect, in which they did after a very, very short search,” Michigan State Police Fifth District spokesperson Lt. Duwayne Robinson said in comments reported by WSBT.

According to the report, Mary Mabry was killed by her stepson around 2:10 p.m. on Sunday and her stepson was taken to the Berrien County Jail around 5:00 p.m. later that same day.

“We were kind of nervous because we didn’t know where the person went because we heard the car like speed away I was kind of nervous,” neighbor Lucy Truhn, a child, told WSBT. “I mean we didn’t know where they were.”

Truhn and her sister had planned to camp out in the local woods that weekend but called it off after Mary Mabry was killed.

More Law&Crime coverage: ‘I just felt like killing her’: Man allegedly stabbed his mom and ran her over multiple times in hotel parking lot

In court documents obtained by WSBT, the defendant told police he went to his father’s home to pick up some cats he had let there. Someone reportedly told him the cats were gone and their pen had been destroyed. David Mabry is said to have become enraged when Mary Mabry denied responsibility for destroying the cats’ pen.

Then, when the assailant raised his weapon, the victim allegedly grabbed for the gun and it went off, David Mabry said, WSBT reported, citing the court document. She was shot in the head.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office told WSBT that David Mabry was found unresponsive in his cell just after noon. Police claim the man had previous medical conditions and that there were no signs of trauma.

The death is now being investigated by the Michigan State Police.

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