WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) – Parents say an insurance company issued a policy on their son’s life to a man who is a suspect in his killing. And when the beneficiary of their son’s policy found himself under suspicion in Delaware, the parents say, he moved to Georgia and did it again to another man.
Household Life Insurance Company accepted a $250,000 life insurance application from Jason Slaughter in 2007 on the life of Christopher Masters, who was 22 at the time, Masters’ parents say in New Castle County Court.
Cynthia and Terry Masters claim that “falsely identified himself as Christopher P. Masters” when he completed and submitted and online application for life insurance, “and named himself (Slaughter) as sole beneficiary.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Slaughter also took out a life insurance policy on his own life for $25,000, with Masters as the beneficiary, to “deflect any suspension that naturally might arise when Christopher was later found murdered,” the complaint states.
The Masters say Household issued the policy to Slaughter even though he “had no insurable interest in the life of Masters,” provided false information on the application and used the same credit card number for both policies.
Less than 6 months after the policies were issued, Christopher Masters was “murdered execution-style, shot in the back of the head at close range,” his parents say.
New Castle County Police suspected Slaughter at the time, but had no evidence, according to the complaint.
After the killing, Slaughter did not cash in the $250,000 life insurance policy because he realized “he was under suspicion for Christopher’s murder,” the complaint states.
“Instead, Slaughter determined to try his scheme again in another state with a new victim, once again using Household’s online application process,” the complaint states. “Slaughter eventually duplicated his scheme in Georgia with a new victim, the late Michael E. Haegele, whom he befriended in that state.”
Slaughter again took out dual life insurance policies, on himself and Haegele, also through Household Life Insurance, online, the Masters say.
This time Slaughter insured his victim’s life with a $500,000 policy, again, says the complaint, “naming himself (Slaughter) as the sole beneficiary under the policy.”
As before, Household made no inquiries into the information submitted on the life of a 21-year-old stranger, the Masters say.
On May 6, 2010, “Slaughter murdered or procured the murder of Michael E. Haegele in Marion County Georgia,” the complaint states. “Like Christopher P. Masters, Mr. Haegele was murdered execution-style, shot in the back of the head at close range. …
“Georgia authorities have charged Slaughter and his wife, Donna Slaughter, with the murder of Michael E. Haegele. Slaughter is currently being held in custody in Georgia while he awaits trial for Mr. Haegele’s murder,” according to the complaint.
Police found Haegele’s body in Marion County, but there were no leads, according to news reports from Georgia TV station WALB.
Then a “call came in from 23-year-old Jason Slaughter,” who, according to the story in the WALB Website, “said that he believed that the body we [the Georgia Bureau of Investigation] discovered may be that of his friend and roommate.”
After police questioned Slaughter and his wife, Donna, “it wasn’t long before they were the prime suspects in the case,” according to the story from WALB reporter Cade Fowler.
According to the WALB story, “30-year-old Donna Slaughter shot Haegele execution style in the back of the head at their mobile home on May 6th. The Slaughters then worked together to dispose of his body.”
WTVM reporter Lindsey Connell filled in details, in another report.
Connell reported that Haegele “met Jason Slaughter online and moved to Mauk, Georgia, not knowing he was already married. The result, according to relatives, was a love triangle that may have lost its luster.”
WTVM reported Haegele’s uncle as saying in an interview: “At first, we didn’t even know there was a wife involved. He wanted to be with Michael so he had Michael come up there to be with him so what happened in this triangle, I don’t know. I don’t know if it was a jealousy thing that she shot him or if there was an argument or if she just got tired of it or what happened.”
The Masters seek punitive damages from Household Life, alleging wrongful death.
They are represented by John Spadaro of Hockessin, Del.