Independence woman beat to death with baseball bat

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - A woman is charged with murder after another woman was beaten to death with a baseball bat in her Independence home Tuesday.

Courtney A. Hackney, 32, is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Holly Barnett was found dead at her residence on Tuesday. According to a probable cause statement, another resident of the home found Barnett deceased in a reclining chair. 

Diane Lopez, who said she’s been a friend of Barnett’s for 13 years, was one of the first to discover her beaten friend.

“I walked in and I seen Holly. Her face was mashed in… just blood… She was just covered in blood. It was something terrible,” said Lopez.

Hackney was allegedly at the house when the resident arrived and said that Barnett was sleeping. 

The resident said she then fled the house and called police. 

When investigators arrived, they found Barnett and a baseball bat, which appeared to have blood on it, nearby. Hackney was arrested near Woodlawn Cemetery shortly after. 

Lopez claims Barnett would allow homeless individuals to stay with her and that Hackney was one of them.

“Everyone that knew Holly, they called her Hollywood. She was a very sweet and loving person. She helped anybody that she could help. Even the girl that [allegedly] killed her, she helped her,” said Lopez.

Investigators spoke to a witness who claimed that Hackney was given permission to live in Barnett's home for a few days. That witness said that Barnett was seen with a black Easton baseball bat several times and acting strangely. At one point, the witness said that Hackney claimed she was a "demon" and wanted revenge on her enemies.

Prosecutors have requested a $150,000 cash bond.

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