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In 1990, three young men from the small community of Chugiak, Alaska, became wrapped up in the tragic shooting of teenager Jeffrey Cain.
When Cain’s killer, Doug Gustafson, was marched off to prison on a murder charge, Gustafson's family executed an explosive revenge plot that left another innocent person dead.
The premiere episode of “Killer Siblings” on Oxygen tells the story of the teenage prank that sparked this deadly chain of events.
On Oct. 19, 1990, George Kerr was hanging out, shooting guns with his friends Gustafson and Raymond Cheely in gravel pits just outside Chugiak, according to “Killer Siblings.” The three men were all a roughly the same age — around 20.
Afterward, the three were driving toward Anchorage on the Glenn Highway, according to court documents. Gustafson was playing around with an HK-91 — a semi-automatic rifle that has since been banned in the United States — shooting at signs. He became incensed when a red Toyota got close to the vehicle and decided to fire at the car, according to the court documents.
Gustafson allegedly said, “Let’s teach him a lesson,” former U.S. Postal Inspector Russel Mabry told “Killer Siblings.”
Cheely was driving, and he slowed down to get Gustafson an angle on the Toyota. Gustafson fired once.
“He comes back into the vehicle and he says, ‘I missed him,’” former Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Bottini told “Killer Siblings.”
Gustafson didn’t miss, though. The bullet went through the rear window and into teenager Jeffrey Cain’s skull, according to court documents.
Theresa Cain, Jeffrey’s mother, called him a “nice kid,” who “didn’t deserve what he got.” The last thing her son said to her was that he loved her.
Jeffrey was headed out with a friend, and Theresa asked him if he needed any money, she told “Killer Siblings.” He declined.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Mom, I really love you,’” Theresa said.
When the reality of what they had done set in, Gustafson and Cheely set about trying to hide the evidence. Kerr got cold feet, however, according to “Killer Siblings.”
He agonized over the next step to take, and eventually confided in his boss, before deciding to cooperate with investigators. Kerr was wired and driven to Gustafson’s job to try to record a conversation with him, according to court documents.
Prosecutors agreed that they would not charge Kerr as an accessory, or for a burglary he had taken part in that same night, if he got a recorded confession out of Gustafson. At one point in two conversations, Kerr managed to ask Gustafson why he killed the man — and Gustafson replied that he “didn’t mean to,” according to “Killer Siblings.”
Gustafson and Cheely were both charged and convicted. Gustafson got 65 years for the shooting, and Cheely got 60, according to the Associated Press.
There was a problem, however: Gustafson’s older sister, Peggy Gustafson, 29. She strongly believed that her brother was innocent. She was in complete denial, and believed that Kerr was the actual killer, according to “Killer Siblings.”
And she wanted revenge.
For the unbelievable story of what happened next, including interviews with law enforcement, watch the premiere of “Killer Siblings” on Oxygen, airing Sundays at 8/7c.
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