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14 Dead in Slayings in Four States

December 13, 1985

Undated (AP) _ A New Jersey man who stabbed himself 27 times was charged with killing his wife and three children, and a 19-year-old man was charged with shooting to death his parents and two younger brothers in Missouri, police said.

Police said they had no suspects in two other family slayings. A brother and sister and a friend were found tied and shot to death in San Antonio, Texas, and a Fort Smith, Ark., couple and their adult daughter were killed during an apparent burglary, authorities said late Thursday.

Dennis Beardsley, 35, of Emerson, N.J., was charged with four counts of murder after his wife and three daughters were found stabbed to death in their home Thursday morning, prosecutor Larry McClure said.

Beardsley, a telephone installer described as a soft-spoken, church-going man, was in satisfactory condition with 26 stab wounds of the abdomen and a slash wound on his right wrist, said Pascack Valley Hospital hospital spokeswoman Francesca Moskowitz.

A neighbor who was to take two of the children to preschool saw Beardsley lying in a pool of blood through a kitchen window and called police, McClure said.

Police found the body of Linda Beardsley, 30, in a first-floor bedroom, Four-month-old Emily was found in a bassinet. The bodies of Katherine, 5, and Jennifer, 4, were found in an upstairs bedroom, he said.

″They were stabbed a number of times,″ said McClure, adding that investigators had no motive for the slayings.

In Plattsburg, Mo., a Lathrop man who made authorities suspicious because he was too calm when told his family had been killed, was arraigned Thursday on four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his two parents and two brothers.

Jeff Sloan, 19, did not enter a plea after the charges were read to him in Clinton County Circuit Court.

A neighbor found the bodies of Paul Hayes Sloan, 44; his wife Judith Ann, 38; and their sons, Timothy Allen, 18, and Jason William, 9, Wednesday morning.

San Antonio police said a brother and sister in their 30s and a man described as a family friend, in his 40s, were found bound and fatally shot Thursday in the woman’s apartment.

The victims’ identities were withheld pending notification of relatives, Detective Lt. J. Moreno said. The woman was found in a bathroom, handcuffed and shot in the head. The two men were found sprawled on a bedroom floor, their hands bound with duct tape.

In Arkansas, police questioned neighbors late Thursday after a relative found the bodies of a couple and their daughter in the couple’s Fort Smith home.

Investigators were waiting for a state medical examiner to determine the cause of death, said Acting Police Chief Bill Young. He added that he didn’t think the three had been shot because there was little blood.

The victims were identified as Joe and Martha Joyce and their daughter Sarah McCurdy, 31, who lived next door. The couple’s ages were not available.

″It looks like Mr. and Mrs. Joyce came home - maybe together or separate - and discovered a burglary in progress, but we don’t know that yet,″ Young said. Ms. McCurdy’s car was found near the Oklahoma border, Young said.

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