Murder mystery solved, tipster in on the crime

Published: May. 19, 2010 at 4:29 AM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM EDT
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Haegele was found shot to death May 7th in Macon County.
Haegele was found shot to death May 7th in Macon County.

By Cade Fowler - bio | email

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) – A bizarre murder mystery was solved thanks to a tip - from one of the suspects.

Two weeks after an unidentified body was discovered next to a rural Macon County road, the victim's roommates are in jail charged with his murder.

A week ago, an artists sketch was all investigators had to go on. That was until a call came in last Thursday from 23-year-old Jason Slaughter.

"He called our office here and said that he believed that the body we discovered may be that of his friend and roommate," says GBI Agent Danny Jackson.

That tip lead investigators to Mauk, near the Marion - Taylor County line. They took evidence from a mobile home shared by Jason Slaughter and his wife, Donna.

"We were able to identify him through finger prints found inside his bedroom and compare that to the body we found in Macon County," said Jackson.

The man known only through a sketch was, in fact, 21-year-old Michael Haegele. The victim moved to Marion County about a year ago to live with the Slaughters who authorities say he met on the Internet.

Agents questioned the couple about their murdered friend and it wasn't long before they were the prime suspects in the case.

"We continued our investigative action around the Slaughters and (Monday) that culminated into their arrests," said Jackson.

Investigators say 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.

"They took the body from the residence and drove approximately 30 miles to where the body was located and disposed of it there," said Jackson.

Now the man who led investigators to the killer is also charged with murder. Jackson says perhaps it was a guilty conscience that caused Jason Slaughter to call detectives.

He said, "They wanted him to be identified. I believe they didn't want him to be an unidentified body is all we can surmise at this point. But we're glad he called."

Agent Jackson says the Slaughters have been talking during interviews with investigators but he won't say what investigators believe led to the shooting.

Haegele has family from the St. Louis, Missouri area. The Slaughters are being held in the Marion County Jail.

Agents have spent the week at the Taylor County landfill searching for the murder weapon, but have been unable to recover it.

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