Woman police say shot her son, then herself, dies




The investigation into last week’s apparent murder-suicide continues, though police say it’s now more a matter of procedure than prosecution.

Leslie Slaven, the 44-year-old woman police say shot her son and then herself at their 433 Seventh St. residence March 20, died Tuesday. Justin Slaven, 23, died March 20.

“If [the investigation] reveals what we suspected at the beginning, ... we will officially close the case,” said Detective Ray Greenwood of the Struthers Police Department. “There is no one to prosecute at this point.”

Greenwood added that the police department is still waiting on findings from an investigation into the shootings conducted by a representative from the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office, along with the gunshot-residue analysis performed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Obtaining these findings could take few more weeks.

Calling hours for Justin Slaven were Thursday evening at Davidson-Becker Funeral Home in Struthers, and many friends and family there said they remained in disbelief about the tragedy.

Brian Slaven of Struthers, a cousin of Justin Slaven’s, said his first reaction to the news was denial.

“Something like that doesn’t happen to your family,” he said.

Jennifer York, another cousin who also lives in Struthers, added that the incident left her feeling “totally shocked.” She said, though, that the community’s support for the family has been overwhelming.

An online fundraiser organized by a former neighbor of the family’s, for example, raised $5,800 in less than a week. More than 150 people donated money, all of which will be put toward Justin Slaven’s funeral expenses.

“I think we live in a community that’s just amazing, for so many people to reach out and not even know him,” York said.

Carol Farrar and Frankie York — Justin Slaven’s great-aunt and a cousin, respectively — agreed that he was, simply, a good kid, and one who loved karate, bowling and sharing his happiness with others.

“He was the happiest kid ever,” Frankie York said. “You could have the worst day ever, ... and he would just change your day.”

Linda Jo Meyer of Youngstown will remember Justin Slaven similarly; she knew him, along with his mother and father, from Christ Lutheran Church in Struthers, which they all regularly attended.

Meyer knew Justin Slaven for just a year, but said he was always bubbly.

“If you needed some help, he would help you out,” she said. “My prayers go out to the whole family.”

Family and friends will also be received from 10 to 10:45 a.m. today at Davidson-Becker Funeral Home, and a memorial service celebrating Justin Slaven’s life will follow beginning at 11.

No funeral arrangements have yet been made for Leslie Slaven.

According to police, Leslie Slaven used a .38-caliber revolver to administer the ultimately fatal shots to both her head and her son’s head.

Robert Slaven discovered his wife and son in the basement of their home between 11 and 11:30 p.m. March 20. A neighbor called police after Robert Slaven ran to his house, saying his wife and son were dead and that she’d shot them both.

When police arrived, Leslie Slaven was unconscious but alive. She remained in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Health Center until her death.

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