Teen took pills, went 'mad' before killing roommate, according to 911 call

Published: Feb. 14, 2011 at 1:08 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 16, 2011 at 12:09 PM EDT
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Stephen Starr (Source: Facebook)
Stephen Starr (Source: Facebook)
Michael Joseph Anderson (Photo courtesy of Catawba County Sheriff's Office)
Michael Joseph Anderson (Photo courtesy of Catawba County Sheriff's Office)
Investigators at the house on Monday morning.
Investigators at the house on Monday morning.

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Funeral details have been released for a man who was murdered inside his Catawba County home early Monday morning.

In a 911 call that was released on Tuesday, 19-year-old Michael Anderson, who was charged with the murder, can be heard telling the 911 operator that he killed his roommate, 36-year-old Stephen Starr.

Related: Facebook reveals details about murder suspect and victim.

Anderson called 911 around 4:45 a.m. and told the operator he had taken cough medicine which lead him to brutally kill and mutilate his roommate.

"I took some pills and, um, the pills made me go mad and I murdered my roommate," and Anderson added, "I shot him three times and then I used an axe and mutilated his body."

Anderson was charged with murder on Monday and remains in jail at the Catawba County Detention Facility in Newton.

His first court appearance was on Wednesday and Scott Reilly was appointed as his attorney.  A probably cause hearing will be held March 9.

A visitation for Starr's family will be  held on Friday, February 18, from 6 - 8 p.m. at Hickory Funeral Home.  Funeral services will be held Saturday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 4536 Hickory-Lincolnton Highway, Newton.  Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

The family requests all memorials be made to ALS Association - Jim "Catfish" Hunter Chapter, 120-101 Penmarc Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603, in memory of Stephen's grandfather who had Lou Gehrig' disease.

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The murder occurred on Ruth Drive in a home in which the two men shared just south of the Hickory city limits.

In the 911 call, Anderson said he took cough medicine and that made him feel "weird".  Anderson also talked about having been on ADHD medicine in the past.

As he was escorted to jail on Monday, Anderson told reporters that he loved Starr "as a friend."

Related: Click here for a transcript of 911 calls (Warning: includes graphic descriptions)

In the 911 call, Anderson discussed how the two met and he alluded to what might have spurred the incident.

"I was straight and I wanted to go bisexual just to experiment and I went to a gay club and I met him and I went to his house," Anderson said in the 911 call. "And he took me in and I turned straight again and he wanted to touch me and stuff and I wouldn't let him and he kept trying and I waited until he went to sleep and then I shot him 3 times and then I mutilated him very badly."

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Starr was shot several times with a handgun and a shotgun.  He also suffered several stab wounds and had been struck more than once with an axe, Reid said.

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The victim also had a word carved by a knife in his side and he had several more words written on the front of the body, likely from a ball point pen, according to one investigator.  However, deputies would not say what words were written on Starr's body.

They did say there was no sign of a struggle, although blood was found throughout the part of the house where the body was found.

Officials said the murder scene was horrific.

"Probably one of the worst scenes I have seen in my 30 years of law enforcement," Reid said.

Authorities were tipped off to what had happened after Anderson called 911.

"He said he had just shot his roommate and took an axe to him," said Reid.

Investigators spent much of Monday at the house looking for clues as to what happened and why.

A computer was taken from the scene and will be analyzed by an expert.

"We don't have the motive yet," said Reid.

Neighbors said Starr had lived in the doublewide for about eight years, but they were not sure how long Anderson had lived there.

"I just met him Saturday," said neighbor Barry Leatherman.

On Monday, Anderson told WBTV his relationship with Starr was all about friendship and confirmed he had been living in the home.

When asked what led to the murder, whether the two had gotten into a fight, Anderson simply said, "No."

Before the door closed behind him to the jail, Anderson said he had a message for Starr's family.

"I'm sorry," Anderson said.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.