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Haine announces murder charges in residential fire that claimed life of Troy woman

Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas A. Haine announced on Sept. 27, 2022, that his office filed charges of first-degree murder in connection with a residential fire that resulted in the death of a Troy woman.

Prosecutors charged Michael E. Sloan Jr. (D.O.B. 6/6/1982) with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of aggravated arson and one count of aggravated unlawful restraint.

The murder charges allege that on Sept. 22, Sloan burned the home of Susanne Tomlinson in the 500 block of Wood Thrush while Tomlinson was inside, causing the death of Tomlinson.

The charge of attempted murder alleges that Sloan attempted to kill Tomlinson’s daughter, Courtney Tomlinson, by ordering Courtney Tomlinson to bind herself with zip-ties on her wrists, covering her with gasoline, holding a knife to her throat and stating that he was going to kill her.

“This was a senseless act of violence that shook the community,” Haine said. “Our office extends sympathy to the family as well as the witnesses, police officers and firefighters who were there as this tragedy unfolded. Thanks to their courage, bravery and great police work, our office can and will fight for justice for the victims.”

Haine said he expects evidence to show that on the afternoon of Sept. 22, Troy Police were called to a report of a domestic disturbance at a nearby duplex on Wood Thrush where Courtney Tomlinson and the defendant resided. Courtney Tomlinson managed to free herself from the zip-ties and fled to a neighbor’s residence. Sloan then went to the home of Susanne Tomlinson, carrying a can of gasoline. Moments after police arrived, a large fire erupted at Susanne Tomlinson’s home. Flames and heavy smoke hindered attempts to get into the home.

An autopsy revealed that Susanne Tomlinson died of smoke inhalation.

Sloan was pulled from the fire and taken to a St. Louis-area hospital.

First-degree murder carries a sentence of 20-60 years in prison. Attempted first-degree murder and aggravated arson are punishable by up to 30 years in prison, while aggravated unlawful  restraint is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Sloan’s bail was set at $1 million by Judge Janet Heflin.

Haine thanked Troy Police, Troy Fire Protection District, Madison County Coroner, Illinois State Police and Illinois State Fire Marshal for their diligent work on the case.

This charge, as well as the statements made herein, are based upon probable cause. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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