Minn. mom convicted of killing 6-year-old son whose body was found in trunk
02/09/2023 1:15 pm PST
MINNEAPOLIS (TCD) -- A Hennepin County jury found a 29-year-old woman guilty this week of fatally shooting her son and leaving his body in the trunk of her car just days after winning custody of him.
The Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday, Feb. 8, that Julissa Thaler was convicted of killing 6-year-old Eli Hart May 20, 2022, with a shotgun. KARE-TV reports the jury reached the verdict for premeditated first-degree murder and second-degree murder in about two hours.
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty called Eli’s death "one of the most horrific cases I have encountered in 30 years working in the criminal legal system."
A KARE journalist inside the courtroom reported Orono Police Detective Kyle Kirschner testified Thaler looked up incriminating topics on Google around the time of her son’s death, including "How much blood can a 6-year-old lose," "How much whiskey to give a baby," "Most powerful knockout drug," "Does life insurance cover drowning," "Most expensive life insurance policy for a child," and more.
Thaler was pulled over by Orono Police on May 20 after someone called to report a car driving without one of the front tires and on its rim with a back window smashed out. According to the probable cause affidavit, police noticed Thaler had blood on her hands and there was a shotgun shell near her in the car. One of the seats in the back reportedly had a bullet hole through it.
Officers searched the vehicle and discovered Eli’s body and a shotgun in the trunk. She was reportedly released from the scene.
Police then went to Thaler’s apartment and noticed the clothes she was wearing during the traffic stop were inside the washing machine. Thaler reportedly fled on foot and she was detained.
According to the affidavit, Thaler "had blood and what appeared to be brain matter in her hair at the time of her arrest."
Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok said police investigated a gas station where Thaler was seen that day. The affidavit says investigators searched a dumpster near the station and found "a backpack, blood, bone, and what appeared to be brain matter."
Police also reportedly found more blood in several other locations.
According to KARE, Thaler and Eli’s father, Tory Hart, were reportedly in the midst of a custody battle when she killed their little boy.
KARE reports when Thaler went shopping for a shotgun and ammo, she reportedly asked for something that would "blow the biggest hole in something."
According to The Associated Press, Thaler regained custody of Eli about 10 days before she killed him.
Her convictions come with a term of life in prison, but she will be formally sentenced Feb. 16.
- Mother convicted of murdering 6-year-old son with shotgun - Hennepin County District Attorney's Office
- Julissa Thaler guilty of 6-year-old son's murder - KARE
- Minnesota woman convicted of killing 6-year-old son - The Associated Press
- Orono police chief on the body discovered in a trunk in Mound, Minn., 5/20/2022 - KMSP-TV
- IN RE: Petition to Remove Julissa Thaler From the Right to Control the Final Disposition of Decedent Eli Hart, a Minor - Hennepin County Court
- Prosecutors deliver 'gut-wrenching' opening statement in Julissa Thaler murder trial - KARE
- Minnesota mom accused of shooting 6-year-old son several times, leaving body in trunk, 5/23/2022 - TCD
- Lou Raguse Twitter
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