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Man shot his 72-year-old mother before dismembering her, court documents say

Robert Barnes, 36, is charged with murder and tampering with a corpse in the death of Lucila Barnes. Records show he has a history of violence.

HOUSTON — A man accused of dismembering his own mother and hiding her remains in a crate in her northwest Harris County home faced a judge Friday.

Robert Barnes, 36, is charged with murder and tampering with a corpse in the death of his mother, 72-year-old Lucila Barnes. His bond was set for $650,000.

New court documents show Lucila was shot and killed before being dismembered. 

“In which he confessed he shot his mother multiple times and mutilated her body to fit into this box. It also did stand out to me that when her sister went to check on her, he came out with an AK rifle and told them to leave," the magistrate judge said before setting Barnes' bond. "And that he had taken his mother to the airport. He tried to tell the officers the same thing but then couldn’t say what airport."

RELATED: 'Sad and horrific case' | Man accused of killing, dismembering 72-year-old mother has violent history, court records show

Barnes is scheduled to formally appear before a judge on Monday.

Investigators said he has a violent criminal history and is currently on probation.

WATCH: Robert Barnes has a history of violence with guns and knives

What happened

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said deputies found the victim Thursday morning in the garage of her home in the 11100 block of Cactus Point Circle in northwest Harris County.

Family members told investigators they went to the home to check on Lucila because they hadn't heard from her since Tuesday. But they said Robert confronted them with a rifle and refused to let them inside the home, so they called for help.

“Actually brandished a firearm outside the residence and was not cooperative with investigators when they first arrived on scene,” said Sgt. Jason Brown. “And wouldn’t let anybody else inside the house. That’s what led the deputies to eventually get a search warrant to go inside the house.”

Deputies returned with the warrant on Thursday and found a lot of blood inside the home but no sign of Lucila -- until they checked the garage.

Barnes confessed that he made the crate that his mother's remains were found in a month ago.

History of violence

Investigators have not revealed the murder weapon but court documents show Barnes has a history with knives and guns dating back to at least 2003.

2003: Pleaded guilty to theft of a firearm in Fort Bend County

2004: Found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Fort Bend County

2005: Convicted of criminal mischief in Richmond

2016: Barnes was convicted of unlawful restraint for threatening a woman in his truck with a knife. Court records show he grabbed her by her hair, forced his fingers inside her mouth to keep her quiet and pointed a pocket knife at her. Barnes was originally charged with aggravated kidnapping but the charge was lowered to a misdemeanor.

2019: Barnes was arrested after he refused to leave Hotel Zaza after not paying his bill. Investigators found him on his hotel room bed with a knife. Earlier this year, Barnes was given 16 months probation for that case. 

A defense attorney tried to convince the judge to give him a lower bond saying he's the father of an 8-year-old child. But she refused, citing the horrific details of his crime and his criminal history.

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