The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.


Published November 28, 2018

Woman charged with murder says she was scared

CAMDEN COUNTY – A Camdenton woman has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder but, according to the Probable Cause Statement (PCS), she is claiming she shot the victim because she was scared of him.

Last week (Monday, November 19) Camden County Deputies were called to a residence just north of Greenview in reference to a shooting.

Upon arrival they found Derek Ray Harrelson, 34, of Camdenton, MO, dead of an apparent gunshot wound.

Christine Jolene Zahn, 47, who occupied the residence, was questioned by deputies on the scene.

According to the PCS, this was her story:

“Deputy Reed was one of the first deputies on the scene. He made contact with Christine. She told Deputy Reed that she came home from the Glory Hole Bar and she began getting ready for bed. Christine said she heard her dogs begin to bark so she opened the partition between the bedroom and kitchen area. Christine said she noticed a male running towards her in an aggressive manner from the kitchen. At this time Christine said she grabbed her rifle as he advanced towards her and she shot him because she only had one bullet. Christine said after she fired the rifle, she fled the camper leaving the rifle in her bedroom,” the PCS stated.

Zahn was then transported to the Camden County Sheriff’s office by a detective to give her formal statement. During the interview her story changed but shooting Harrelson because she was scared remained.

The PCS said “During the interview Christine’s statement changed to what occurred prior to the gunshot. Christine stated that when she went to the Glory Hole bar earlier in the day, she had “one beer” with (J.P.) and had left the residence at approximately 2040 hours. Christine stated that she arrived back at her residence by herself at 2240 hours and, after she arrived home, she heard someone in the next room. She recognized the male voice as her ex-boyfriend, later identified as “DRH.” She said they began talking and arguing, because he had accused her of cheating. Christine said the argument lasted approximately 30 minutes. Christine said after a heated argument DRH began raising his voice and growling. Christine said that is when she grabbed her rifle and shot him because she was scared. At no time during my interview with Christine did she say that DRH made any physical contact with her.”

As the interview continued some inconsistencies appeared to the detective.

“She originally told me that as soon as she shot toward DRH, she immediately left the residence to alert her neighbors. Christine later said she did not immediately leave the residence after shooting DRH. Christine said she called a friend, identified as her paramour (J.P.) before leaving. Christine also stated that during the argument with DRH she had put 911 in her cell phone as if to call during the argument but did not dial it because she was not a ‘cop caller’”.

The story of the shooting also changed as the detective continued speaking to Zahn.

“Christine said as DRH and she argued, he became enraged and yelled and growled at her with clenched fists. Christine said DRH did not try to make physical contact, only growled very close to her face. Cristine said she ended up sitting in her bed as DRH moved toward her during the argument. Cristine said DRH growled and hovered over her while she leaned back in the bed. Christine said she had placed the rifle on her lap prior to this to scare DRH. Christine said she raised the weapon and fired it. Christine said she saw DRH fall to the ground.”

This is where the idea of self-defense comes in. According to the PCS, Zahn was scared of Harrelson and had never seen him this angry and that she had several “domestics” with him in the past.

“Christine said she fired the weapon at DRH because she was scared and had never seen DRH this angry. Christine said she had been involved in prior domestics with DRH. Again, Christine never said that DRH made any physical contact with her during this incident.

“Christine said she did not try to flee from DRH because he would chase her as he had done during a prior domestic. Christine also told me why would she leave... ‘this is my home!’” the PCS said.

Zahn has been charged with Murder 2nd Degree and Armed Criminal Action. She is being held in the Camden County Adult Correctional Facility on a $500,000 cash only bond.

All content is Copyright 2018 by Reporter Publishing, L.L.C. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited without written permission.