A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.
Wed, 11 Aug 2021 07:00
The body of a missing, young mother disturbingly turns up in a lake. While archeology helps investigators catch her killer, DNA from the unlikeliest of source will seal the deal. For episode information and photos, please visit https://anatomyofmurder.com/
If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. Obviously I've cleaned a lot of animals in my time too, and you don't do it with a chainsaw. So it was a bizarre thing that he had done in his past and when he combined that with all the other goofy things he had done after accounts disappearance, it's like this is something that that needs to be looked into. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Classy, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction and this is anatomy of murder. Even small Midwestern towns can be the scene of the most gruesome, unthinkable murders, and today's case is no exception. In a moment, you'll meet Assistant state Attorney Jay Scott, who was a skillful prosecutor from Macon County, Illinois. The city of Decatur is only about 180 miles southwest of Chicago, but couldn't be any more different from the Windy City. The caterer is right in the middle of the state of Illinois. We're actually the soybean capital of the world. It's got a lot of small town feel. It's late September 1996, and while the City of Chicago had 792 homicides in that year alone, murder and Decatur was rare. But this town was about to be rocked by a case that even the biggest cities would have a struggle with. And being that we're in 1996, let's go back to the 90s and let me quiz all of you out there. Do you remember any of the things that were popular at the time? What I remember is Seinfeld friends. Our president was Bill Clinton. But today's story we're talking about Karen Slover. Karen was 23 years old. She had one son who was three years old at the time. She was recently divorced. She worked at the local newspaper, was involved in sales. She also had dreams of becoming a model. That's what she really wanted to do. She had done some modeling locally, but she wanted to take it a step further and make a career out of it. It's September 27th, 1996. It's just after 5:00 PM and Karen Slovis said goodbye to her coworkers and she was headed to pick up her son from her ex husband's parents, who would watch her three-year old while she was working. Karen left work at the Herald and Review at about 5:00 o'clock. A lot of times she would go have one drink with coworkers that day. She doesn't. She was adamant she was going to go pick up her son, so she left work at 5:00 o'clock, and that was the last time that anybody ever saw. Fast forward. A few hours later, a police officer comes across a suspicious car, a car that Karen often drove. 9:57 PM was when her car was discovered. The engine was running, the lights were on, the driver side door was open. For officers walking up to the car, obviously the first thoughts are simple ones. You know there's someone with car trouble. They walk to get help. But then a deeper dive leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Or several items of personal materials, personal things to her that were still in the vehicle, and that's when the big investigation began. In the first red flag for officers, his women don't normally leave those things in their car when they walk looking for help. Also in the car, investigators discovered pieces of cinders. Fingers are a byproduct of burning coal. They used to use them on tracks when I was a kid for track and field, and they also used them for traction on icy roads. And while the car was not registered to Karen, police did contact the owner who told officers he had lent to car to Karen Slover. When the policeman found the vehicle, nobody knew that anything about Karen or her being missing at that point, and obviously was unusual on a rural Interstate to find a vehicle in a condition in that location. So it would appear that, you know, maybe there was an abduction that took place. But you know, for officers, there was no missing persons report on file. So they looked at this as something that if something sinister had happened, it had happened quickly and in close proximity to when they found that car. But like Scott said, it wasn't her car. So the first thing the police then did was have to contact Karen's parents. Karen came from a good family and she was just the kind of person that could light up a room. She was very vivacious, had this wonderful personality. That's why a lot of this was just so shocking. It wasn't missing person case at that point, just to try to find out what happened to Karen. You know the car was located at 9:57 PM and Karen was due to pick up her son nearly five hours earlier, and missing that pickup was something that had never happened before. The parents went to the scene, thought maybe she was just out in the field or in the woods or something. Her parents, having gone to the scene, can't even imagine anything bad happening. But they wonder why where their daughter has gone. But for the community, I mean the talk is already swirling. I mean, we've already talked at the top of the show of how small and tight knit the community of Decatur, IL was. And when the news of a young mother was missing under suspicious circumstances, everyone is on high alert. When Karen went missing, it was something that's all in the news. It was something that really hit the community. When you have a young mother like that who was only 23 go missing, everybody was interested in the case and in trying to figure out who did this to her. Remember time frame for a moment because it's going to start to factor in. It's Friday when Karen's last seen. A few hours later, cars found, but there's nothing. No leads from there for a few days until Sunday. There were some boaters at Lake Shelbyville, which is a large lake not too far away from Decatur, a boater was walking along the shore. He saw a garbage bag, so he decided he would pick it up and dispose of it properly. Rather immediately, the boater could tell that this bag was holding something other than garbage. So he put it back down and contacted the Moultrie County Sheriff's Office. And when police showed up inside that bag, they found a head. The head of a woman. And also, they determined that it did have some similarities, meaning the features to Karen Slover. Obviously there was a suspicion that this could be Karen, her head that was found, so they went back to obtain her dental records, which were then compared to the head that was found and a positive identification was made. As horrible as that is, investigators on scene needed to establish this as a crime scene. And of course the investigation into Karen Slover now was a full blown homicide investigation. And so now that this has turned from a missing persons case to a homicide, here's the real difference. With the missing persons case. You're literally looking for a person. That is the focus of investigators. Now that it's a homicide, they slow down. They have to be much more meticulous because now they're looking. That evidence to try and build a case. Investigators continue to search the shoreline where the head was found in the bag looking for other potential evidence. And remember not all of hers found. So the first thing police are going to do is to see if they can find the rest of her. Several more bags were located along the shoreline and they were taped at the top with duct tape and even some of the bags had been split open with a body parts can be seen. We had great plastic garbage bags that had. Body parts. And then they were duct taped at the top. Some of them had pieces of concrete placed them and parents attempt to weight the body parts so that they would never be recovered that the so that they would sink. Most people think that when you throw a body in the water and even if you put a piece of concrete in the bag that it'll stay at the bottom. One piece of science here, a dead body floats because decomposition creates gas as a byproduct and you most of you probably know that the human bodies. Made-up to about 60% of water. So the bloating effect comes into play and that's why these bodies often float to the surface or to the side of a shoreline. And Karen's body parts that were recovered, some of them had cinders imbedded in them. More cinders. The same type that was located in the car Karen Slover was driving. Her clothes were left on her when she was dismembered. So to me that's interesting. Maybe even a mistake. The fact that the killer left her clothing on that could play a part down the road. The duct tape that it sealed the openings of the bags was examined. And when they tried to examine that tape, they did find some hairs. But in that determination it turned out to be not human, but animal. They also were able to determine cause of death. She had been shot 7 times. 7 gunshot wounds with a 22 caliber firearm, which was her cause of death. She was dismembered after she was deceased. Now, Scott, this is not 123 or more. Let's talk about what it means when we have such overkill, if you will, and a number like 7. You know, one shot to the front of her head, 6 to the back of her head. Just think about the first shot was likely to the front of her head, which would mean she was eye to eye with her killer. And if this is not a description of her personal crime, I don't know what would be. Because, you know, when I look at that and I think about it for a moment, if you have someone just trying to make sure someone dies with gunshots, then you're gonna have them all over the body, almost as if someone's running and the person is firing almost wildly. But here they are so deliberate in her head, which again, that also indicates that she wasn't able to move. And the number clearly indicates, just like Scott, you said, it's personal, but also the word that comes to my mind is rage. A stranger wouldn't go to that type of rage and a stranger is not going to try to hide a crime scene. So we thought it was someone that was close to her, someone that had a lot of animosity towards her. Everybody was a suspect, so everybody connected to Karen was contacted and interviewed by the police and Karen's parents gave some good Intel to investigators early on about her former husband, Michael Slover junior. The divorce was only a few years earlier and was contentious and he was said to also be. Controlling and abusive, she and her ex-husband, Michael Junior, did not get along. The marriage didn't last all that long. We were about four months after the divorce became final. There were several instances of domestic violence and threats that Michael Junior had made towards Karen, and I believe she agreed to the divorce terms basically because she wanted to get out of the marriage. There isn't many more straightforward motives than that when that ends up being the answer as you're talk about divorces being messy, but here they also shared a child in custody is something that really comes to the forefront when you have crimes of violence between ex spouses or people going through divorce. There are various provisions in that divorce that talked to the control, you know, things that Michael Slover junior made sure that Karen agreed to, such as who was going to watch the child when they were going to watch the child and while this was her son. By all accounts, she just wanted to get out. So she pretty much agreed to anything you wanted. I mean, honestly, do you see custody in your cases? I mean, with those big motivators within some of the homicide cases you tried in domestic violence, when people are no longer together and share a child, there is almost no bigger factor in this. Problematic, sometimes violent scenarios. So it's something we see all the time. And you know anyone out there, whether you have been through a divorce or have a child with someone when that relationship isn't going well, you're always tied to that person by your child or children. And that is when things get very heated quickly. And that's exactly what happened here. Michael Slover Junior was the first person they interviewed in this investigation, and they considered him being the lead suspect because of the things we just spoke. And maybe for them, they thought it was an open and shut case, but during the interview with them that all changed. O the first thing police want to know is where was Michael slower junior at the time that his ex-wife Karen went missing? He had a solid alibi. He worked part time as a security guard at a supermarket so we could tell when he clocked out. He also worked as a bouncer at a bar. So he was seen by multiple people into the wee hours of the morning. And lastly he was a karate instructor, so he had a time period where his students could see him. It wasn't only that he could be placed at these various locations is that there were people that actually say they saw him. There were people at the grocery store who could say that, yes, he was a security guard on that day. It was his students who said that he was actually teaching them karate. There were people at the Tavern that remembered seeing him at the door, but there's also even a police officer who ended up vouching for his whereabouts. He pulled up at the scene of a traffic stop of an officer that he had had contact with and went up and spoke to the officer who was finishing up. Traffic report. Michael Slover, junior pulled over to talk to this officer because he knew him. And so now the officer could also say that he saw him close in time to when Karen went missing. So that to me was really interesting. Is it all so neatly fitting perfectly or is it almost preplanned? So basically just about every minute of that evening, that Friday evening he could be accountable for investigators. They were able to confirm all of those things. They cleared him and then they began to move on. Became apparent really early on that Michael Junior had an airtight alibi for Friday evening. And next, investigators would dig into Karen's current love interest. Now he's the person whose car she was driving on the night of her disappearance. His name is David Swan, and he claimed that he and Karen were deeply in love and they were planning on getting married. But Swann's behavior in the weeks after the disappearance raised a lot of eyebrows for investigators. He was on TV interiors thing that they loved each other. He showed a card that he said she had given to him. Which we found out she had given to a previous boyfriend. So he was making things up, was kind of playing for the media. You know, I could tell you the times as a reporter, I'd be on the scene of a homicide reporting for the news and someone would walk up to us and want to talk to us and want to tell us about the victim. Because they did want to be on the news. They wanted their face on camera and they wanted to be involved in some way. And then, of course, you hear those stories when you go to a fire that the actual person who committed the arson. Stays around to see what they've done and how people react to it. So the majority cases that people who do come forward, family members, friends, relatives of the victim, do give statements to police, do give statements to the media. You know, I have to say when you talk about people that seek out media in these high profile, albeit horrible tragic cases, sure it can be suspicious. We all know the high profile homicide cases where the X or someone close to the victim ultimately ends up being the killer even though they're in front of the camera. Crocodile tears. But you also find, and I have found in more than one case, that it's certain types of personalities seek out the attention. And while they are truly innocent, and while they are truly reeling from the tragedy of the crime amidst them, they seek out the attention because in a way, it's a strange opportunity for them to have time in the sun. And then investigators also learned that he owned a 22 caliber weapon. And that was the type of weapon used to murder Karen Sloan. Maybe she was going to break up with him and he couldn't take it and decided that he was going to kill her. And there was one other thing that really put David Swan, her boyfriend at the time, at the top of the police officer's list. It has to do with his history of violence. Well, it came out about. The boyfriend at the time that he had had some physical violence with a previous girlfriend had done some bizarre things with her. At one point he had hung a deer over a swimming pool and butchered it with a chainsaw. So Karen was dismembered, obviously with some sort of a power tool. But let's look at that. Violence isn't just violence with an ex. With David Swan, I mean, he's angry at the ex-girlfriend and he literally butchers a deer. With a chainsaw. Obviously I've cleaned a lot of animals in my time too, and you don't do it with a chainsaw. So it was just it was a bizarre thing that he had done in his past, and when you combined that with all the other goofy things he had done after Karen's disappearance, it's like this is something that that needs to be looked into. Remember, investigators described the wound to her neck, her head as being jagged. Well, that's not going to be a knife or something that would make a forgive me for saying this about a human being a clean cut. It goes towards something electric, unfortunately. Type of thing, or at least that I have seen in cases, a type of electric saw, which is exactly what we know this guy used. He was interviewed extensively and one of the problems that he had, he was in a wedding that was going to take place the next day. They had a wedding rehearsal that evening, then there was a rehearsal dinner. Afterwards he showed up late. A lot of the people in the wedding party said that he was acting kind of bizarrely. Then they were able to interview a few people at the party and they said there was a time where he was missing from that party. He had a time period of maybe about 45 minutes that he couldn't account for. And that's when investigators really started to believe that he may have had a window of opportunity would have been possible for him to have taken steps to kill Karen and to get the car to that location in that 45 minute time period that he couldn't account for. Alibis are obviously important for investigators. When they know that a crime was committed and they're looking at someone for it, they want to know if they can account for their whereabouts at the time. Obviously his DNA was going to be there, his fingerprints were in the vehicle, so that wouldn't have really added much to the investigation. But the fact that he had no alibi for part of his evening was a troubling thing when you combine that with his background. Every which way they turned, the boyfriend looked like he could have been involved if it wasn't just the time that he couldn't account for, if it wasn't just his history of violence, if it wasn't just the fact that he hung a deer over a pool and cut it up with it, you know, a chainsaw. All of those things were really good circumstantial evidence, but they really needed to place them or have access to the victim, and it would take that to really be able to clear him. But then out of nowhere, he remembered where he was. At the time, he was not at the party. After being eyed for quite some time as a suspect in Karen's death, her boyfriend, conveniently, just out of nowhere, remembers where he was for those 45 minutes he couldn't account for. He said he was at an ATM, he was wearing a specific set of clothing, and when investigators went back to that ATM, they determined that yes, he was there. There is surveillance evidence that he was there. It would have been physically impossible for him to have been any place. Connected with Karen's disappearance, there just wouldn't have been enough time. So while all of the things that we've mentioned makes him super suspicious, that is not a crime. And he was cleared. A lot of time was spent investigating the former boyfriend. There were some people in in law enforcement who were convinced he had to have something to do with it. Others didn't necessarily think so. So there was a lot of time that was spent, which turned out in the end, obviously it cleared the boyfriend. But their focus would have been put someplace else. Maybe this case would have been solved sooner than it was. And that's a real honest assessment by Jay Scott. But, you know, I don't think he is blaming investigators for their focus. You know, I don't think it's that they got tunnel vision in this case. We know that it happens, but really every building block was really pointing to this guy. And you have to follow the evidence until it gets you to the answer or it leads you away from it being that person. And that's exactly what happened here. I mean, take the flip side of that. Lasaga you know you always have to go where the evidence leads you. The road to clear a suspect is as important as the road to inculpate a person. And so that leads to, well, what road or path did they go down next? They turn not to Michael Slover junior, but to his parents, the in-laws. They got a tip from a neighbor that said that right around the time of the homicide that Karen was found that they saw the Slover family cleaning out their messy car lot. Right after the murder, the weekend that Karen was quote UN quote missing, Michael Senior and Michael Junior went to Miracle Motors, the car lot and were seeing weed eating and burning things. Miracle Motors was a pretty. Being kept place. The village that it's located in had been on the flowers for months to clean it up and cut the weeds and cut the brush. They hadn't done it. And now suddenly the weekends that their ex-wife and former daughter-in-law is missing, they're out there cleaning up the place and all the neighbors saw it. They thought it was unusual, and they all said they'd never seen Michael Junior. They're doing anything like that. So while it's not odd to be cleaning, while maybe for certain people it is, you can't make much out of that. I mean, they were literally. Weed whacking and cleaning debris to a place that they had been asked to clean many times before. But that's what started to make it odd is that they had been asked to clean this car lot many times to keep it tidy, and they'd never complied. But now, all of a sudden, right after Karen's killed, they're not only cleaning, but they're burning things. And when we talk about the in-laws, let's also give their names. Jeanette and Michael Slover senior. So when police go to the car lot to talk to the slavers, they quickly noticed something suspicious. Cinder? Since there is a byproduct of burning coal, and it's the same materials recovered from Karen's car she was driving the night she went missing, investigators also noticed broken pieces of concrete in the parking lot that looks similar to the broken pieces of concrete found inside those bags where the body parts were located. Those cinders and rocks were collected and taken to the lab for comparison, but those tests were inconclusive. Michael Senior and Jeanette did not have an alibi. He said he had gone to the car lot. At some point that evening they were at home with the boy and nobody else could account for anything that they had done that evening. So with them not having an alibi, that was a potential opening in the investigation. So while the police continue to search the property, they didn't really find any direct evidence tying the slovis to the murder. They had the cinders, which was unusual. And yes, it was similar to what was found in Karen's car, but that's far from a homicide charge, so really, after that the case pretty much came to a halt. The investigation kind of came to a dead end with Michael Junior's alibi, and without anything tying the crime or the crime scene to the slowers, it really came to a dead end. And sat there not for months, but years. The over family really remained the prime suspects and it was really in late 97, early 98 when we brought in a forensic geologist. You may be asking what a forensic geologist is and forensic geology is the study of evidence relating to minerals, oil, petroleum and other materials found in the Earth. And since the evidence found in the garbage bags which contain the remains of Karen Slover contained those elements, the thought was could those items be better connected? The rocks, the cinders in the car, the bags that miracle Motors. But there is more if Miracle Motors was really a crime scene and Karen Slover. Potentially shot and dismembered, there. Could a more intensive surge lead to those answers? The one hope may have been the fact when she was dismembered, the killer may have left behind valuable clues only perhaps, science could uncover. So when the forensic geologist came in, he had some ideas. Basically doing an archaeological dig at the Miracle Motors car lot, Richard Monroe, the forensic geologist, got in. He said, you know, there's possible we could even find. DNA evidence or pieces of the crime connected to Karen. Let's get back there, let's dig up the soil and let's see if we can find anything at that location that will make that part of the crime scene. And this is yet another reason why I love this profession so much. I mean, just think about it. The case is called a new investigator comes in, which again, it's not about 1 being better the next. It's a fresh set of eyes. It's a different perspective. And they come with, well, hey, let's go with something else. Let's try forensic geology. You know, I've done homicides for a long time in a big city. I never dealt with a forensic geologist, which is why you learned something from your peers every day about different ways to do it. And so the question is, is when they do this. Archaeological dig of a car lot. What, if anything, will they find? One of the keys to the case mistake that was made by her killers was leaving her clothes on her when she was dismembered. Part of her that the waist area of her body and genital area still has blue jeans on it. The jeans were sold at a local shop and they were fly button jeans and a single button was missing so we knew part of those are somewhere else. One of her arms had a blouse sleeve on it which had a a button at the end of it. We didn't recover. The other arm. So those are likely things. Could we find something connecting her clothing to that location, or perhaps even biological for her DNA? Is this a long shot? Absolutely. Is this the only shot? Barring a confession? Most likely. You know, investigators were able to get a second search warrant two years after the first one was executed, and this was a much deeper dive. Flowers obviously did not appreciate all the searches that were done at their property. The last big search we had a freak late season snowstorm so they had to bring in equipment to melt the snow to get down to the topsoil. Topsoil was dug up, it was placed into 5 gallon buckets. I believe there were 60 some of those that were then taken to a secure facility. They are doing 5 gallon buckets of soil at a time. They are just sifting almost. Picture a sifter like kids play with on the beach or that you use in their kitchen. And so anything that comes to, they're looking at it. So of course it's going to be twigs, it's going to be rocks, it's going to be scraps, and they just throw it out. And then officers and detectives sifted through that soil for a period of a couple of months to see if there was anything they could find connected to the Koran. This is very specific, with all sorts of experts at the top of their game. They're trying to connect these cinders. Can they connect them from the car lot to the cinders actually found by Karen's body? But all those tests, unfortunately, were inconclusive. But before long, police do hit on something, something so big that the police actually feel it might be the very thing to close this case. With several searches not yielding any direct connection in the murder of Karen Slover, investigators wanted to refocus in on an item of clothing the jeans she was still wearing. The pair recovered with her remains while the search was being conducted. Some of the soil was sifted on site and. They fly. Button that matched the genes the caramel was wearing was located at the scene. This is a huge development here, doesn't mean something. Buttons are found all the time. I can't even think about the number of buttons I have seen in random places on the street and over the years. And while it's this object, that in and of itself might be meaning less in this case. Maybe it's meaningful, but there need to go much deeper to see if the button actually connects to Karen. The question for investigators and prosecutors is, does this meet the threshold for an arrest? And to UN Sega, what you're feeling about that? Peace. But I don't think we're there yet, because a button is just that. A button cinders are just that cinders, while again, everything is pointing in that direction. You really need the thing to connect it all so that the jury ultimately, hopefully, can be convinced it all adds up to one picture, and that picture is of the clovers. We did not believe we had enough at that point. We believe we had solved the case, but we wanted to obviously make sure we had enough evidence. As a prosecutor, you want to make 100% sure in your hearts and your mind that you've got the right people. Clearly we both very much agree with what Jay Scott saying here. The investigation continued on from then there was a search of the buckets recovered 2 rivets that matched the rivets from Karen's. Means there was also the sleeve that was on one of Karen's arms had a rather distinctive plastic button with a cloth covered face, and I found a button that's matched that also. When they did the search, the lead investigator had an idea that he was going to collect brushings of dog hair from the dogs that were present at the scene. OK, I thought that the button was cool to soil was cool. Now we're talking literal doggy. DNA, he thought maybe that might be something relevant because there were animal hairs, dog hairs that were found back to the underside of the duct tape of the bags that contain Chrome body parts. And during the course of the investigation, along came a thing called Canine DNA, which we didn't even know anything about. See if there was sufficient DNA to match those up with the dogs. That a lot. They were able to conclusively decide with science that the hair recovered under one piece of duct tape matched a dog from the slover's car lot. It is the type of thing that in a way shocks the conscience, but we are so thankful to have this type of science at our disposal. By this time, investigators had developed a theory of what happened to Karen Slover in the night she disappeared. They believe she arrived at her in-laws home to pick up her son, only to be told by her mother-in-law that her three-year old son was with his grandfather at Miracle Motors and she could pick him up there. Lured that, prosecutors believed with the intent to murder her. The timeline? She arrived before 6 and subsequent to her body parts being scattered along the banks of Lake Shelbyville. The car she was driving was driven down the Interstate and left on the side of the road, engine running, door open and Karen's purse inside to make it look like an abduction, with the possibility her body would never be found. Ultimately, the police charged all three. They made a lot of mistakes, you know, and they were just relying on. It's all circumstantial, you can't prove it. But their mistakes were what didn't win. It was really the totality of all the crime. I mean, they knew that there was at least two people involved, right? Because her car had to be taken to the Interstate and then had to drive away the person driving it. So you need at least two people there, because it was only by the way her car that was left on the Interstate that it would make it seem like an abduction. You needed to have a third person watching the young boy, the child, while this is taking place. You need more than one person, in this case, from all the evidence, to dismember the body and clean it up. And remember, people saw the slow vers, all of them, cleaning that car lot. Right after Karen's disappearance. And then you needed people to dispose of those body parts that took multiple people, and when they had the various motives, when you had the various statements made that things that didn't make sense, that the clovers didn't, didn't say, it really added up to all three of them, part and parcel, at least to some degree, being involved. And remember, under the law, acting in concert means in for a penny, in for a pound, if you're involved at all with the same mental state of wanting to intentionally. With this crime like they would hear, well then you're in and you are as responsible as the person who literally fired the gun or who dismembered her after her death. I mean, for such a horrific crime, what could have been the motive? Why would they have done it? And prosecutors, while they never have to present a motive in court, there was a theory. Our theory of a motive of this case was very simple, that there was this fixation all the flowers, all three of them had on Karen's son. The Slover family tried to keep control over Karen. Even early on in the divorce provisions, there was actually a childcare mandate. And it wasn't that Michael Slover junior got to decide the caretaker. It was put in there. That would always be his parents. The big catalyst here was the fact that Karen, the afternoon of her death, got a modeling job and it was a temporary job out of state. She was excited, she was happy she was bouncing off the walls. She talked to Michael Junior on the phone that afternoon while she was at work, and whenever coworkers said that, her mood changed to like a deer in the headlights. Look where she had been happy all day about the prospect of maybe this was going to be her big break. Get into modeling, so this is what set everything in motion. It is reminding me of a podcast that we did earlier in the season. The victim was Ron Stoval where it was again thinking that he might leave the state with the child that caused his demise by the mother-in-law when there was a possibility she was going to be leaving the state with him, which is something that junior was afraid of. Her getting that modeling job was basically what did her in because they were bound and determined to keep this child. After Karen had died, they found out that this lovers had actually been limiting Karen's parents from seeing the child. So they're really trying to cut off not just Karen, but every familial relation to her away from this child. And they also found out again, after Karen's death that they had even had Michael Slover, Junior's sister, officially adopt the boy. So the pieces really all came together that it was this sick manifestation of control. To get this child completely away from Karen, at her family, that ultimately led to Karen's death. So then you had to think about how this motive would play in the courtroom. This case was very circumstantial, and while I like circumstantial evidence, there were a lot of things about this case that we could not explain to the jury. There were a lot of holes in our case that we didn't know at that time. We still don't know, and we'll probably never know. So those were the problems. And and this is not just a circumstantial case, it was a highly circumstantial case. You can imagine, just by the details of this case, the fact that an ex-husband and his parents are charged with the murder of Karen. The case drew both national and local attention, and that is exactly what happened here. A lot of media coverage of this trial at that time, every day there were articles in the paper, and every night and every noon it was all over the local news. So it really was the the trial of the century for Macon County. And with that, the defense did what they often do in these high profile cases. They try to get a change of venue saying that, hey, people around here can't be fair. They know about the case, everyone's familiar with it and the judge said that yes, people may know about it, but let's at least find out during the valadier. Which is the jury selection. If they say they can keep an open mind and be fair, and if they can't be fair, then maybe a change of venue would be in order. But if we can pick a jury from our community that hasn't already made-up their minds, then we'll go ahead with it. Illegal is a really big deal because if they move the case out of the jurisdiction, it isn't just the lawyers and the judge. It is every single witness that has to come in. It is the jurors that have to be taken to wherever. So it really is taxing on everyone, including the victim's family that has to go wherever this trial is. So they had the trial right there. But then let's talk about the way that the case was presented, the type of evidence. And in this case there was actually a defense. Their claim was that Karen was actually abducted by. A stranger. Well, what really went against that was a few things. One was the complete show of rage in the way that she was killed, the multiple gunshots to the head. A stranger is not normally going to go to such lengths to cover their crime scene. And now because of this case had been so high profile, they had gotten various false leads that Karen had been cited all over town, going to different malls and different places. And the defense tried to use that to their advantage, to put on this evidence, to say, hey, she was in places that she shouldn't have been. And that goes towards a stranger having picked her up and killed her. The most confident defendant in this case was Michael Junior because he relied upon his airtight alibi and that was going to be tough to crack. But the thing that stood out about this alibi was that Michael Slover, junior went out of his way to talk to a police officer. It makes you question if he actually had an alibi or if he was trying to create an alibi. We were pretty confident we could show that senior and and perhaps Jeanette were involved in this, but you know, you had to have multiple people to carry this crime out. Jay was really able to breakdown this forensic evidence. He came to these pieces of evidence knowing what would resonate with the jurors and as he explained it he even talked about what he felt was really the most important part. Karen wore a size 7 tall. There were only I believe 12150 pairs made of her size of that gene. That was from Maurices where Karam like the shop. This is not like Levis or anything. This was a very short production run of the blue jeans that she was wearing, so the odds of finding a matching fly button were pretty remote. I felt so confident just in that that evidence that it proved where the crime scene was located and that all three of them were involved in it. Match absolutely, and did the jury agree? Absolutely guilty of first degree murder. Junior and senior were additionally charged with concealment of a homicidal death, and they were both found guilty of that as well. The basis of that charge was the cleanup that they were doing over the weekend before Karen's body was found. All three of the clovers sentenced to 60 years. After the flowers were found guilty, Karen's parents were able to adopt the son and they were able to raise it. In wanting to have this child all to themselves, the slavers not only took him from his mother, but they took him from his father and even his grandparents. As they all spend the next 60 years in jail. He lost all of them in one shot. So this boy that they were doing all this for, it really has to go to control, because how much could they really have cared for him at all to put him through this horror? So I think all of us today, let's just hope that wherever he is. That he is healing. That his life has brought him happiness in all the years since, all this terror, brutality and grief, and that he remembers his mother as the woman who loved him with her all until the day she was taken. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, A Weinberger media and forseti media production summit. David is executive producer.