Friends say Greene County man accused of killing his mother may have had mental health issues

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. Many people who knew A 21 year-old man who police say shot and killed his mother last week say he struggled with mental health issues.

Connor Cox pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges at his first court appearance Tuesday.

"He just turned 21. We were talking about having fun. It literally came out of nowhere," said close friend and former college roommate, Paul McKnight.

He said he knew Connor Cox was struggling with mental health issues.

"I know when we were in school, he was dealing with depression, and I think that was about it. We talked about it all the time; we used to talk each other through all these things. Every time we went through something, it was like, hey, it's not so bad; we're here for each other, said McKnight.

He said he was with Cox hours before police say Cox shot and killed his mother last week at the family's home in Greene County

"He seemed like he had an attitude but you never really think an attitude would, that's the motive, you know, behind it. But for the most part, definitely Connor," he said.

"Sometimes those symptoms are sort of gradual so it doesn't just jump out at you," psychologist Susan Henderson with Burrell Behavioral Health.

She said noticing changes in someone's behavior can be a sign that they need help, but they have to want it.

"Can I really force someone to get help if they don't want to? No. There are ways to start commitment procedures but there has to be some very clear indications of that," explained Henderson.

If someone you care about may be in trouble, there are ways to help them.

"If I had a friend that I was really concerned about and I wasn't sure what to do, they too could call our crisis line and someone could talk with them about some options," said Henderson.

Cox is being held in the Greene County Jail without bond.
He will be back in court next month.

"I still don't believe it; I feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm going to wake up any second," said McKnight.

Henderson said, "Addressing our mental health just the way we would our physical health I hope one day is the norm."

If you or someone you know needs help and doesn't want to talk to someone in person or over the phone, there are smartphone apps that can help.