Mary Katherine Higdon, a former preschool assistant from Georgia, is accused of shooting her high school sweetheart to death in their home.
Higdon had worked as a preschool teacher’s assistant at St. George’s Episcopal School in Griffin, Georgia. She is accused of shooting Steven Freeman, 23, to death. He was remembered by family for his Southern drawl, loyalty to others, and his love of fishing and hunting.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mary Katherine Higdon Claims the Gun Went off Accidentally, Reports Allege
Reports allege that Higdon told police that the weapon fired accidentally. According to WSB-TV Atlanta, “She said she was in the back room of their home and as she handed the gun to Freeman, it went off.”
However, the television station says that police disagree with this account. The lead detective told the television station, without providing details, that authorities allege the evidence shows there was “intent to kill.”
Steven Andrew Higdon died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Higdon is alleged to have said that she “didn’t understand what happened since she never kept a round in the chamber,” WSB-TV reported.
2. Higdon & Freeman Were High School Sweethearts
Family members told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the couple had been together for seven years and were high school sweethearts.
“The word devastation doesn’t begin to cover it,” Josh Thacker, Freeman’s uncle, told the newspaper. “It’s hard to get through a couple of minutes without crying.”
He added, “We’ve lost two people in this. We’ve lost Steven, but obviously our relationship will be changed with Mary Katherine and my heart goes out to the Higdon family because they are doing the same thing.”
3. Higdon Now Faces a Murder Charge & Freeman Was Remembered for His Loyalty & ‘Heart of Gold’
Mary Katherine Higdon has been accused of the charges of Murder and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime.
Freeman died at a local hospital. Police were called to the home around 10:42 p.m. on August 1, 2018.
An emotional obituary for Steven Freeman says he Steven was born in Thomaston, Georgia on January 1, 1995.
Steven “lived a life full of loyalty, love, joy and compassion. He was a friend to everyone, especially if that friend loved fishing and hunting. He had a heart of gold, a bounce in his step, and a sweet Southern drawl,” the obituary reads.
“Steven showed his love for you through his belly laughs, big smiles, bear hugs, deer meat, always being there for you, and making you feel you were the only other person in the world. He was never afraid to tell you ‘I Love You.'”
4. Steven Freeman Was a Metal Worker
According to his Facebook page, which contains several photos of Freeman with Mary Katherine Higdon, Freeman worked as a metal worker at Drain Right Gutters & Roofing, Inc., and he was a former stacker at the Food Depot.
The page says that Freeman studied at Gordon State College and attended Spalding High School in Griffin, Georgia, the same town where he was both from and lived. He changed his status to “in a relationship” in 2012 and didn’t have any significant recent posts publicly visible.
Other old posts say things like this: “sooo bored. friday nights are supposed to be fun.” That was from 2010, though, when Freeman was a teenager.
One relative posted on Facebook, “Thank you all for the love and support that you’ve shown me and my family over the past few days. It would make Steven very happy to know how many people have embraced us and made such effort to cushion this blow that we are facing. He never wanted to see us sad.”
5. Police Were Called to the Home Previously, Reports Say
According to WSB, investigators reported allegedly smelling alcohol on Higdon’s breath and she was allegedly mumbling.
Furthermore, the television station reported that police had been called to the home five times in the past year, including one two for domestic violence and the other times for issues relating to animals.
A neighbor alleged that Higdon told officers “I didn’t mean to do it,” according to the television station.