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Boy Accused of Killing His Father

August 29, 2000

MARION, Ind. (AP) _ A 10-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting his father in the chest has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Officials offered no motive and few details about the slaying in Fairmount, a town of 3,100 about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The fifth-grader, charged Monday in juvenile court, was being held in a detention center.

``The charge speaks for itself,″ said James Luttrull Jr., chief deputy prosecutor for Grant County. ``It’s an appropriate charge based on all the circumstances.″ He refused to elaborate.

Wayne Salyers Sr., 36, was found dead in the boy’s bedroom Friday night by officers responding to a 911 call, police said. The boy’s mother and stepsister were in another part of the house at the time.

Police said they found the boy walking a few miles from the home about an hour later. He told them he had taken his father’s .44-caliber revolver from a cabinet in his parents’ room, authorities said.

A petition filed in court alleges the child knowingly killed his father ``while acting under sudden heat.″

The boy’s attorney, Martin Lake, denied the charge at Monday’s hearing. ``He wants to go home with his mother,″ said Lake, a public defender.

A child must be at least 14 to be charged as an adult in Indiana. If found delinquent, the boy could be under the court’s jurisdiction until he reaches 21.

The father, a mechanic, and son spent much time together fishing, hunting, shooting BB guns and working on the father’s truck, according to neighbor Gary Hurst, who lives across the street.

``He was a good boy. He’d say, ‘Yes, sir,’ to you, ’Yes, ma’am,‴ Hurst said.

Town Marshall Brian Reneau said he knew of no police calls or other problems at the boy’s home.

But neighbors in this small town best known as the birthplace of actor James Dean told The Indianapolis Star they often overheard loud arguing at the house, and described the boy’s father as a stern disciplinarian.

``He was just angry with the son. He’d get loud,″ said neighbor Margarita Thompson.

The boy’s next court appearance was scheduled for Oct. 16.

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