Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder by the Book: The Murder of Karyn Slover

Shock in Decatur

For two days, prosecutors presented their evidence before a grand jury, which resulted in the indictment and arrest of 29-year-old Michael Jr., and both of his parents, Michael Sr., 53, and Jeanette, 52. They were all charged with first-degree murder and the two men were charged with attempting to conceal a crime. Michael had gone before the grand jury but invoked his right to remain silent.

Re-enactment of trial scene.
Re-enactment of trial scene.

The Slovers were arrested in their home, surrounded by a SWAT team, and taken to the Macon County jail. Michael Jr. was arrested in Tennessee. The prosecution theorized that the process must have taken three people: Michael Slover Jr. spent the day creating an alibi for himself quite deliberately, while his parents handled the killing and moving of the car. The dismemberment could have involved any of them or all three.

There was no announcement whether Macon County State's attorney Larry Fichter would seek the death penalty, although he acknowledged it was a possibility. He claimed the evidence they had collected was "mountainous," but would all come out in court.

Reporters for local papers speculated that the motive had been anger over the custody struggle. Detectives also unearthed the fact that Michael had a criminal record including drug possession, gun possession, and burglary. In addition, he'd solicited bribes from shoplifters where he worked as a security guard in exchange for not turning them in. On this charge, he had pled guilty and received probation. In addition, the prosecutors claimed there was evidence that the Slovers had been trying to prevent Karyn's parents, Larry and Donna Hearn, from having any visitation rights to their grandchild; Mary Slover, their daughter, had adopted him and taken him from the state without notifying them.

Larry Hearn
Larry Hearn

Michael Slover Sr. requested to represent himself. Michael Slover Jr., asked the court to appoint a public defender, while Jeannette Slover said she would hire an attorney. The two Michaels ended up being defended by the same attorney, Vince Vigneri, who turned out to be an astute strategist.

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