December 13, 1984
Dr. John Dale Cavanes shoots and kills his 22-year-old son by shooting him twice in the head

Dr. Cavanes was facing debt and murdered his son Sean for the $148,000 his life insurance claim would bring. During the investigation it was revealed another son, Mark (22), was killed during an “accident” in 1977. Mark, a hunter, had allegedly attempted to grab a shotgun from his vehicle when he accidentally pulled the trigger and shot himself in the chest. Dr. Cavanes collected $40,000 in life insurance from this son’s death. When speaking of his dead sons shortly after their deaths, he spoke only negatively of them calling them worthless and embarrassments.

The jury took just 3 hours to reach a guilty verdict sentencing him to die in the gas chamber. However, on November 17, 1986 Dr. Cavanes took his own life, hanging himself with an electric cord.

Photo credit: James A. Finley/AP

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