Murdered man's loved ones don't believe suspect's story

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SPRNGFIELD, Mo. -- Family and friends are remembering the man found dead along a highway north of Springfield on Friday, 48 year old Shone Swearingin.

Shone Allen Swearingen, 48, of Strafford, Mo.

"Growing up, he was always a protector for me and my little brother," says Shone's sister, Carmella Berry.

Now, Berry is dealing with her brother's death, and the fact that someone took his life. "It's just a shock, and then of course, now there's anger, because how dare somebody think they can reach down and just take the life of somebody that you love, and then to treat them like a piece of trash and just leave them on the side of the road; he didn't deserve that," says Berry.

She doesn't believe Adam Phillips' story that he had previously talked with Shone about killing him because he was in pain. "In my heart, I don't believe that at all. Shone had lots of hardships, but never did he ever say anything about wanting to end his life, and definitely not in that way," Berry says.

She says Shone was a talented artist. "It was amazing; I have pictures hanging up down at my mom and dad's house that he drew free hand, and they're just awesome."

And he loved to be funny. "He was a goof ball. He was always trying to make people laugh, and he was a clown, and it didn't matter what it took for him to make you laugh; he would do it. Goofy faces, jokes," Berry says.

She says despite what some may assume, her brother was a good man. "Don't make assumptions until you know the person and you know the person's heart," says Berry.

She last saw Shone at their mother's funeral just three months ago. As their family grieves yet again, Berry says she has one comfort. "It's a big comfort knowing that they're at peace together," says Berry.

Ticia Basham says she's known Shone Swearingin for nearly a decade and she was shocked to hear the news of his death. She wants justice for Shone and also does not buy the suspect's story.

Adam Phillips told detectives after feeding Shone dinner with his family, the two men went for a drive and started arguing. And he told Shone he loved him before shooting him and letting Shone fall out of the vehicle. He also said they'd talked about him killing Shone in the past because he was in pain.

"He was a very kind hearted person," said Basham. "He'd give the shirt off his back to anybody. He was very funny. That's one thing I remember; he was very funny, could make anybody laugh."

Adam Phillips faces several charges, including first degree murder, and is being held in the Greene county jail without bond. The Greene County Sheriff's Office says Swearingin's autopsy was completed Monday, and the case is still under investigation.

Shone Swearingen's visitation will be Friday, June 15th from 6 to 8PM at Greenlawn North in Springfield.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.