Murder defendant wails she had 'nothing' to do with death of her mother


A woman authorities say was involved in the death of her mother in Savannah nearly eight years ago wailed in protest today during her first court appearance on a charge of first degree murder.

Patsy Lynn Shelby, 67, most recently of Ashland City, Tennessee, is being held at the Hardin County Jail. General Sessions Judge Danny Smith set her bond at $1 million.

Her mother, Otylier Callens, 80, was found dead, with plastic wrapped around her face, in her Ryan Street home on Sept. 8, 2010, according to Savannah police.

An autopsy found that Callens’ death was a homicide, and that the cause of death was strangulation.

The defendant, Patsy Lynn Shelby, is led into the courtroom by Hardin County Sheriff Sammy Davidson.

Shelby, appearing frail and emaciated, was helped into the courtroom on a walker by Hardin County Sheriff Sammy Davidson and a deputy.

As the judge began reading the essential facts alleged in the affidavit of complaint charging her with murder, Shelby wailed loudly, “Lord no! I had nothing to do with it,” banging her head on the the table in front of her at one point.

According to the affidavit, Shelby made statements to law enforcement that she was present at the home on Ryan Street when her mother was killed. It adds that forensic evidence was collected from the scene that substantiates Shelby’s own statement that she was there at the time of the murder.

The affidavit, sworn to and signed by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Michael Parson, says evidence was obtained that Shelby did not act alone and was in the presence of others when her mother was killed.

Laying out a possible motive, Parson says in the days prior to the murder, Shelby and a man approached Callens and asked to borrow $5,500 for the man to purchase a repossessed tractor-trailer from a local bank.

Callens refused to let the two borrow the money. However, within days of the murder, the man was able to buy the truck. He is said to have purchased the truck with money Shelby gave him that came directly from Callens’ account, where Shelby was the sole beneficiary.

Parson also says that during the course of the investigation, Shelby made statements to law enforcement indicating she was tired of taking care of her mother and that she felt entitled to “get what was hers now, rather than having to wait.”

The investigation determined that Shelby, and others, perpetrated an attempted robbery for money and-or narcotics, which resulted in Callens’ murder, and added that Shelby discussed with family “what they would do in the event of Callens’ death prior to the murder occurring.”

Evidence was also obtained during the investigation that showed there was no forced entry into the Ryan Street murder scene, and besides her mother, Shelby was the only person to have a key.

After Smith finished reading the facts alleged in the affidavit to her, charging her, and advising her of her rights, Shelby insisted she was not guilty and would not plead guilty.

“Why didn’t they charge those other boys that were brought to her house? Why didn’t they charge John? You mean I’m the only one being charged – and I didn’t even have anything to do with it?,” Shelby yelled.

Smith advised Shelby to tell all of those things to her attorney, whomever they might end up being, so her attorney could present a good defense on her behalf to a jury. He said an attorney would be appointed for her in the event she lacks the money to do so.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Tuesday, June 12 at 1:30 p.m.

Davidson said other arrests are anticipated in the murder of Callens.