Archive for Sunday, November 5, 2000

Decision to leave church cited in murder-suicide

November 5, 2000


— The wife of a Baptist minister shot and killed her daughter and then herself because she was upset that the daughter planned to leave the church and move out of the home, investigators said Friday.

The shooting occurred Thursday in the parsonage of the Rev. Tom Sooter on the grounds of the Eagle Heights Baptist Church and Christian School.

Mary Lee Sooter, 56, shot Jenny Sooter, 24, in the parsonage after Tom Sooter had left to go to his church office. She then turned the gun on herself, said Det. Andrew Dorothy of the Kansas City Police Department.

Mary Lee Sooter was involved in the church ministry and often counseled other women in the congregation. The Sooters had been married for 37 years.

Police were called to the home about 8 a.m. Thursday when people staying in a nearby cottage heard gunshots. Both women were found in a downstairs hallway, Dorothy said.

Jenny Sooter had multiple gunshot wounds from a .38-caliber revolver, he said. Mary Lee Sooter died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

The gun had apparently been in the home for a long time, officials said.

Jenny Sooter had written a note to a church deacon explaining that she was leaving the church, Dorothy said. It was found in the home in a sealed envelope. The detective said he could not recall whether any reasons for leaving were given in the note. Sooter also had packed some of her belongings in boxes in her room as if she had been preparing for a move.

Police found Scripture passages written in notes near Mary Lee Sooter's bed along with references to her daughter.

"Her mom had Scriptures written out beside her bed, and she talked (in the written notes) about how she didn't like the rebelliousness of her daughter," Dorothy said.

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