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Michigan Man To Stand Trial For Murders of Mother, Father and Brother While 5-Year-Old Niece Was In Home
Daniel Sougstad is accused of shooting his parents, John and Barbara Sougstad, as well as his brother Ryan Sougstad in a "horrific" crime witnessed by his young niece, who was also wounded.
A Michigan judge has found that there is enough evidence for a 23-year-old man to stand trial for the murders of his mother, father, and brother in September while his 5-year-old niece was at home.
Daniel Sougstad is charged with three counts of murder and as well as three firearm-related felonies.
A neighbor, Benjamin Crocker, testified at a hearing earlier this week that he heard a “handful” of shots coming from the home of Barbara and John Sougstad in Windsor Township. He said he could hear a young child screaming and crying, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Crocker said that shortly after one of his relatives called police, a 5-year-old girl, wearing only one shoe, ran across the Crocker’s lawn. She had blood on her and was limping.
She told Crocker that “Uncle Danny” had killed her father, 29-year-old Ryan Sougstad, and her grandparents. She also said he had shot her in the foot, according to the Lansing State Journal.
“Uncle Danny,” was Daniel Sougstad, the son of Barbara, 65, and John Sougstad, 57, and Ryan’s brother, according to authorities.
“The scene was horrific,“ County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chris Anderson, said, according to the paper.
He said that John Sougstad was shot four times with a shotgun and stabbed 11 times. Ryan was shot four times and stabbed four, he said.
Barbara Sougstad was shot once.
Daniel Sougtad was not at the home where he lived with his parents when police arrived on the scene.
He was believed to be headed to the Upper Peninsula when he was arrested by deputies with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department. He was then transferred to the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office.
Police said he had blood on his pants and glasses, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Detectives said they found unused shotgun shells in Sougstad’s car and bedroom that were identical to those found at the murder scene. Some were in a dresser drawer and others in the center console of the car.
Eaton County Detective Troy Gardner said he found a 12-gauge shotgun in the back of the car with one slug in the magazine and another in the chamber, according to the Lansing State Journal.
The detective said that Sougstad had purchased the gun in November 2019 along with boxes of ammunition that matched the shells found in his parent’s home.
“He had the shotgun he had matching shells and his niece said he murdered his family,” Anderson said, according to the Lansing State Journal.
But Eaton County Public Defender Timothy Havis said there was little evidence linking his client to the murders.
“The prosecution is very far away from proving their case,” Havis said.
The Lansing State Journal reported in September that Sougstad had a history of mental illness and was hospitalized in 2018 after expressing suicidal thoughts. He accused his family and friends of plotting against him.