A Minnesota Mother Bought A Shotgun And Practiced At The Range. Then She Shot Her 6-Year-Old Son 9 Times.

child killed

Aug. 7 2023, Published 3:05 p.m. ET

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A mother in Minnesota recently was found guilty of killing her 6-year-old son in her car after he thought he was going out on an evening adventure, prosecutors said.

A Hennepin County jury deliberated for around an hour and a half before convicting Julissa Thaler, 29, of first-degree premeditated murder for the shooting death of her child, Eli Hart, MPR reported.

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Dan Allard said during closing arguments that Thaler purchased the shotgun she used to slay her son and went to a range to practice shooting the firearm.

“This is as premeditated as it gets,” Allard said. “As horrible as it is to think that a mother could do this to her 6-year-old son, she did.”

On May 20, 2022, Thaler took the boy, Eli, shopping, and the two ate pizza and watched movies, according to prosecutors.

Later in the evening, the mother argued with her son because he didn’t want to go to bed. In court, the prosecutor said he believed Eli likely thought he and his mother were heading out on “a late-night adventure” when they got into her car and drove around the suburbs of Minneapolis for hours.

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Allard said the mother eventually shot Eli six times while he was secured in his car seat in the back of the vehicle, reloaded the shotgun and fired another three bullets into her son. “The person he trusted the most killed him,” the prosecutor told the jury.

According to police, officers stopped the mother after the shooting because she had a smashed-out window and was down to a wheel rim after she damaged her tire while driving over a bicycle lane. When officers opened Thaler’s trunk, they found the boy’s body hidden inside.

Allard said in court Eli’s father and mother were in a custody dispute at the time of the killing and noted Thaler had taken out life insurance policies on the boy.

The child's father claimed Dakota County social workers advocated for Thaler to have sole custody of their son even though he claimed it was known she battled mental health and substance abuse issues, according to MPR.

Per Minnesota law, the defendant automatically faced life in prison without the possibility of parole when she was sentenced for her son's murder.


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