HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) — A Hammond man has been charged with murder in the shooting death of his 10-year-old son last month.
Jason Lee DeGroot Sr., 32, is accused of shooting his son, Jason DeGroot Jr., in the back before shooting himself in the chest. A roommate found the boy’s lifeless body on Nov. 15 and an autopsy the next day determined he had been dead 36 to 48 hours before the autopsy, according to the Lake County coroner’s office.
The gunshot had lacerated DeGroot Jr.’s heart.
The roommate told police at about 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 15, she opened DeGroot Sr.’s bedroom door, saw him and his son in bed and thought they were both sleeping. Both of them were lying on their backs with the covers pulled up to their lips.
The roommate, a childhood friend of DeGroot Sr., went to work, called home at about 4:30 p.m., and learned DeGroot Sr. hadn’t gone to work and the boy hadn’t gone to school. When she got home about 30 minutes later, she found both of them in bed with a lot of blood around them and on the bed.
Police found a .38-caliber handgun in the dresser drawer in the bedroom, 13 inches from the bed on the side where DeGroot Sr., was lying. The house was locked when the roommate returned home.
DeGroot Sr., who sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, told police he didn’t know and couldn’t remember who shot him. The last thing he remembered was going to bed at about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 14. His son came to his bed and wanted to sleep with him, court records state.
While he was being treated at St. Margaret Mercy Hospital in Hammond, police took blood swabs from the bottom of the father’s feet. Police found what appeared to be a partial adult footprint in blood on the hardwood floor of the bedroom where the boy’s body was found.
Behind the headboard, police found an obituary for Brandy DeGroot, Jason DeGroot’s wife, that appeared to have blood on it. She died in 2010.
DeGroot Sr., was transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago for further treatment.
The case is assigned to Judge Diane Ross Boswell.
(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)