Independence man accused of shooting girlfriend to death during argument, charges say

A 26-year-old Independence man is accused of murdering his girlfriend by shooting her in the back of the head during a fight in her apartment late last year.

Brandon McDaniel faces one count of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action in the December shooting death of Oriana Starr, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday. He was arrested in Arkansas in January, according to court records.

On Dec. 17, police received a tip from a family member of McDaniel that he had shot and killed his girlfriend the night before. The witness told police McDaniel admitted to the killing but claimed he shot Starr in self-defense as the couple were fighting.

He told the witness he shot her in the back of the head, court records say, as she was trying to choke him with an extension cord. When the witness advised McDaniel to surrender to police, he allegedly said: “I can’t do that, I’m not going back to jail.”

Officers with the Independence Police Department responded to Starr’s home in the 9900 block of East 36th Street to check on her welfare. Through a window, they saw her lying dead on the floor.

Another witness told police McDaniel had confided in him about the incident and showed him the gun he used. The witness added that McDaniel sold the firearm and changed his appearance.

McDaniel was named as a person of interest by Independence police earlier this year. In January, officers learned McDaniel was in Arkansas and contacted authorities there. McDaniel was arrested on a parole violation warrant, according to court records.