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Jury convicts man who killed family

LIBERTY, Mo. -- A jury Friday discarded the theory that a 20-year-old man was insane in 1985 when he killed his father, mother and two brothers and convicted him of first degree murder in the death of one brother.

The Clay County jury deliberated about an hour Friday before returning a guilty verdict at 10 a.m. against Jeffrey Paul Sloan, who was being tried in only one case, the death of his brother, Jason Sloan, 9.

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He had contended his mother, who was dying of cancer, drove him to the murders and pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.

The jury was scheduled to hear sentencing arguments Friday afternoon. Prosecutors planned to ask the panel to recommend Sloan be sentenced to death.

The bodies of Jason, 18-year-old Timothy Allen Sloan, and the parents, Paul H. Sloan, 44, and Judith Ann Sloan, 38, were found in December 1985 at the family's farm in Lathrop in rural Clinton County.

During the trial, prosecutors called Sloan a cold-blooded killer, who 'blew his father's brains out, then killed the rest of the family' so as not to leave any witnesses. They claimed the murders were the culmination of an ongoing argument with his father over drugs and over his stealing of family money to buy the drugs.

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The jury this week was shown a one-hour video tape in which Sloan described shooting his father in the head and looking into the eyes of his mother before he killed her. Sloan said he then went into another room and shot his brother Timmy.

The defense contended Sloan was made to commit the murders by his mentally disturbed mother. Sloan's mother convinced her son the family would be better off dead and in heaven, the defense has alleged.

A Kansas City psychiatrist testified earlier this week that it was his estimation that Sloan was insane at the time of the murders.

The trial was moved to Liberty from Clinton County in part because of pretrial publicity.

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