December 11, 1985
Lathrop, Missouri
Four members of the Sloan family are killed in their home by the eldest son

Early on December 11, Jeffery Sloan (19) entered his parent’s bedroom with a .38 caliber pistol and shot his father, Paul, as he slept. The bullet struck Paul in the chin and passed through his neck. The sound woke Judith as she slept next to her husband and she was also shot, with the bullet wounding her right breast, neck, and cheek.

Jeffery left his parents’ room and entered the living room where his brothers were sleeping. Timothy (18) was shot as he was getting up from the rollaway bed, the bullet passing through his left hand and wounding his cheek. Jeffery then shot his brother Jason (9) as he slept on another couch. The bullet passed through Jason’s left wrist and fully penetrated his head.

Jeffery reloaded his gun and checked on his parents, both of whom were still alive. Judith was shot again, this time in the back of the head while Paul was shot in his right eye. Timothy in the meantime had attempted to flee the house but was shot in the left temple as he was in the front yard. Jeffery then went to work as usual.

While at work, Jeffery called his girlfriend, who was one of the Sloans’ neighbors, to ask her to notify the family he had arrived to work safely. The girlfriend saw Timothy’s body on the lawn and notified police. Jeffery arrived at the scene approximately 45 minutes after police arrived. He was taken into a police car where he told investigators he believed his neighbor — who had had an affair with Judith — had killed the family, despite not yet being told of the murders of his youngest brother or parents. Jeffery became the immediate suspect from his suggestion the neighbor had killed the family, as well as the fact robbery did not appear to be a motive and the other family members were all dead. Jeffery soon confessed to the murders after speaking with his grandfather.

St. Joseph Gazette. December 13, 1985
via newspapers.com

Jeffery was charged with all four murders initially, though the prosecution dropped three of the charges in a “tactical move.” Instead, Jeffery was only charged with the murder of 9-year-old Jason. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The prosecution argued the murders were not the work of someone who was not of sound mind at the time of the crimes, evidenced by the fact he reloaded his weapon and returned to his family members to ensure they were dead. Instead, prosecutors offered the killings were in response to an argument over Jeffery forging his father’s checks.

Jeffery contended his mother had instructed him to kill his father because Paul had been allegedly abusive. Timothy was also to be killed because he was abusive like his father, and Jason was to die to spare him from growing up with the knowledge his father was abusive. Jeffery did not offer a reason as to why he killed his mother.

The jury deliberated for one hour before convicting Jeffery of his brother’s murder, and another 6 hours before recommending the death sentence, which was accepted. Jeffery was executed on February 21, 1996. His last statement was: “I know I’m going to a better place.”

Sources:
State of Missouri v. Jeffery Paul Sloan. 756 S.W. 2d. 503-505 (archived: https://missourideathrow.com/2008/12/sloan_jeffery/)
“Man Is Executed for Killing Brother, 9.” The New York Times. February 22, 1996
State v. Sloan. 756 S.W.2d 503 (1988). STATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Jeffery Paul SLOAN, Appellant. No. 69330. Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc. July 26, 1988 (archived: https://law.justia.com/cases/missouri/supreme-court/1988/69330-0.html)
Hollan, William. “Jury says execute defendant.” The Kansas City Times. April 4, 1987
“Jury convicts man who killed family.” UPI. January 30, 1987 (archived: https://www.upi.com/Archives/1987/01/30/Jury-convicts-man-who-killed-family/3253538981200/)
“Man Charged With Killing Parents, Brothers.” Associated Press. December 12, 1985 (archived: https://apnews.com/article/abb4536af658e7b0b8fd16e7b6a45611)

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