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She had an order of protection against him. It was in her pocket when she was killed.

Kansas City Star logoKansas City Star 3 days ago By Tony Rizzo, The Kansas City Star
Gene A. Birdsong. © Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office Gene A. Birdsong.

Tabitha Birdsong had an order of protection folded in her back pocket when she was found dead Tuesday near Roanoke Park in Kansas City.

The man named on the order, Gene A. Birdsong, is charged with killing her.

Jackson County prosecutors on Thursday charged 42-year-old Gene Birdsong of Kansas City, Kan., with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Tabitha Birdsong, 40, was found dead near 36th Street and Madison Avenue.

She had suffered "obvious head injuries," according to court documents, and her death was ruled a homicide.

In her pocket, detectives found a court order of protection she had sought against Gene Birdsong.

The two were married in 2009, according to Johnson County court records, and have a daughter born in 2013.

Family and friends interviewed by investigators after the homicide said there was a history of physical abuse in the relationship between the two.

According to Johnson County court records, Gene Birdsong was convicted in 2009 and 2010 of domestic battery against Tabitha Birdsong.

In 2015, she filed a protection order request in Johnson County in which she said she was "terrified" for her safety.

In 2016, Gene Birdsong was charged in Johnson County with violating a protection order Tabitha Birdsong had obtained in Wyandotte County. He spent 86 days in jail earlier this year after violating his probation in that case and was released from custody in June.

According to the charging documents filed in the murder case Thursday:

Tabitha and Gene were seen together on Monday at a home just a few blocks from where the body was found. A witness who spoke with Tabitha Birdsong on Monday night could hear Gene Birdsong in the background.

Another witness told police that Gene Birdsong showed up at the witness' house Tuesday morning with blood on his pants and a piece of cloth wrapped around his hand.

One person described seeing Gene Birdsong with "blood-soaked pants."

Questioned by police, Gene Birdsong made statements about someone trying to kill him. He told detectives it was "self-defense," before stopping the interview by asking for a lawyer.

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