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Man Kills Wife, Mother-in-Law and Himself

May 29, 1990

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) _ A man returning his infant son to his estranged wife pulled a gun from a diaper bag and killed her and his mother-in-law, then fatally shot himself in the head, police said.

The man, Michael Jeffress, 31, died early today at Vassar Brothers Hospital.

Dutchess County’s second triple shooting in two days occurred Monday in a YMCA parking lot in a front of a police officer who had accompanied the mother to the meeting to exchange the 10-month-old child, Lt. Arthur Regula said.

Jeffress and his wife, Lavonne, 27, had been separated about three weeks, police said.

Jeffress normally had custody Fridays and Saturdays, and the child was usually returned in front of the YMCA because it is a public place, said Capt. John Doherty. But the boy’s mother complained to police Sunday that her husband had refused to give up the child.

Doherty said the mother had guessed Jeffress would show up at the YMCA on Monday and had asked for an officer to accompany her.

The officer arrived first and interviewed Jeffress, who was calm and coherent, then returned to his patrol car to watch the exchange, Doherty said.

Jeffress placed the boy in a child’s car seat, then returned to his own car for a diaper bag. When he reached his wife’s car again, he pulled a gun from the bag and shot his wife and mother-in-law, Vivian Shealey, 49, at close range, Doherty said.

The officer was drawing his gun when the man shot himself, Doherty said. The child was unhurt.

On Sunday a Hyde Park man shot and killed his wife and wounded a neighbor before killing himself with a shotgun.

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