The Associated Press
DECATUR, Ill. — A man and his parents shot his ex-wife and dismembered her body because they feared she would leave town with the couple's son to pursue a modeling career, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
Prosecutors allege Michael Slover Jr. and his parents, Jeanette and Michael Slover Sr., shot the woman in the head seven times, used a power saw to cut up her body and dumped the remains in a nearby lake.
Defense attorneys countered during opening statements that there was no evidence to directly link the three to the slaying of Karyn Slover.
Slover's former husband and in-laws are charged with first-degree murder in her 1996 death. The trial is expected to last eight weeks.
Slover disappeared after work on Sept. 27, 1996. Two days later, her dismembered body began washing up on the shore of Lake Shelbyville.
The day she disappeared, Slover mailed an application to a modeling agency. She planned on moving west with her 3-year-old son Kolten, leaving behind her ex-husband and in-laws who baby-sat the boy during the day, prosecutors said.
"She wanted to be a model. She was a very attractive young lady. She thought that was her ticket out of Decatur," assistant state's attorney Richard Current said. "Michael Slover told her that if she ever left him, she would never see Kolten again."
Investigators never found the murder weapon or the saw used to dismembered Slover's body.
Instead, prosecutors said they would focus on evidence found at the in-laws' car lot and DNA evidence taken from one of their dogs.
Cinders were found embedded in Slover's arm and in the trash bags used to dispose of her body. Prosecutors say the cinders are consistent with those found by investigators at the car lot, and that a button found there matched the pair of jeans Slover was wearing when she was killed.
Dog hairs also were discovered stuck to a piece of duct tape that was used to seal one of the trash bags. Prosecutors say DNA evidence from one of the Slover's Labradors matches the dog hair found with Slover's body.
Defense attorneys said the evidence proves nothing.
"You can't convict because of cinders. You can't convict because of consistency and dog hairs," lawyer Mike Costello.