Who Is Conner Kobold? USMMA Student Strangled Mom to Death After She Served Him Eviction Notice to Find a Job or Clean Room to Stay in Home

Kobold is now undergoing mental health evaluations regarding his choice to represent himself at trial and his alleged motive for killing his mother.

A student from the US Merchant Marine Academy is nearing trial in Indiana for allegedly strangling his mother after she gave him an eviction notice, asking him to get a job and maintain cleanliness in his room and the common areas of their home. The student's mental health has also been questioned.

Conner Kobold, 20, confessed to the horrific act as soon as police arrived in February at the Valparaiso home he shared with his mother, Shanelle Burns, who is an assistant vice president in advancement at Loyola University in Chicago, according to court documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune. The student now faces years in jail if proven guilty.

Killed His own Mother for Simple Reason

Conner Kobold
Conner Kobold X

On February 5, police were dispatched to the Valparaiso home where Kobold and Burns lived. Burns was found unresponsive and not breathing in the living room, while Kobold shockingly admitted to strangling her. She was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Kobold is now undergoing mental health evaluations regarding his choice to represent himself at trial and his alleged motive for killing his mother.

He reportedly informed officers that he had "killed somebody" and directed them to where his mother was barely alive before requesting to be handcuffed.

Her death was ruled as a homicide caused by asphyxiation due to manual strangulation.

The relationship between mother and son had strained substantially, leading her to serve him with an eviction notice. She gave him a month to secure full-time employment, tidy his room, and assist with household chores. This action is thought to have triggered Kobold's extreme reaction.

As Kobold attempts to represent himself, Superior Court Judge Michael Fish has requested a mental health expert to assess his competency.

"I want Dr. (Anand) Popli to chime in on whether you're capable to represent yourself," Fish said Friday.

Fish asked: "I guess the most important thing out of the gate here is for me to make sure that you understand the penalty for murder is 45 to 65 years. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, your honor," said Kobold.

Trying to Save Himself

Shanelle Burns
Shanelle Burns Facebook

Fish also attempted to clarify to Kobold the pros and cons of acting as his own attorney and the typical qualifications that lawyers possess.

He then asked: "Do you think you possess any skills or abilities that would assist you in representing yourself?"

Kobold replied: "I believe my case is so unique that the only person who can explain what happened and why it happened is myself"

Fish questioned Kobold about his educational background, his courtroom experience, and his public speaking skills.

Kobold mentioned having completed high school and having some public speaking experience during his school years, although he had never been in a courtroom before.

He also admitted to having been hospitalized in mental health facilities twice and having consulted with five different psychologists.

Despite these challenges, Kobold claimed that representing himself in court would not be a problem for him.

He was then asked whether he planned to enter a plea or proceed to trial as his first action representing himself as an attorney. "Whatever I can do to help the court and the jury make the best decision about my situation," Kobold said.

Upon being informed that he needed to make the decision himself, Kobold said he would initiate negotiations with the state first.

Fish granted Kobold a waiver to represent himself pending the evaluation of the defendant's mental health by a doctor.

If found guilty on all three charges, Kobold could receive a sentence ranging from 45 to 84 years in prison.