Bay High grad accused in killing of girlfriend

Joe Michael Shaw Jr.
Joe Michael Shaw Jr.

A Bay High School graduate and budding musician was arrested Sunday after his girlfriend was found dead in their Hattiesburg home.

Joe Michael Shaw Jr., 34, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder in his girlfriend's death. He was booked early Sunday morning into the Forrest County Jail. His bond was set at $1 million.

Police who responded about 2:30 p.m. Saturday said Kelly Ladner, 37, of Hattiesburg, was found dead on her bathroom floor.

Authorities say both Shaw and Ladner had marks on them that indicated a possible "domestic issue" had taken place. Alcohol was also said to have been involved, officers said.

The Hattiesburg police Crime Unit and detectives were seen gathering evidence at the home. Shaw was also seen speaking with officers Saturday night and police said he was questioned at police headquarters before his arrest Sunday. Ladner's cause of death is unknown at this time, said Forrest County Deputy Coroner Lisa Klem. Ladner's body was sent for an autopsy to the state Crime Lab in Jackson.

A preliminary report outlining the manner of death should be available within the next few days, authorities said.

Shaw is expected to make his initial court appearance this week.