Jury convicts Cincinnati-area man who killed ‘best friend’ on vacation in Kentucky

The men got into an argument in central Kentucky when one shot the other to death, according to prosecutors.
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 10:54 PM EDT
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A local family has justice after a Kentucky jury found the man accused of killing their loved one guilty.

Jarron Slayback, 31, died in June 2020 on a vacation with friends to Wolfe County, Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police troopers said Slayback and Troy Dunkelberger who was in that group of friends, were having an argument when Dunkelberger got a gun and shot Slayback multiple times.

Dunkelberger, now 34, was charged with murder in Slayback’s death. A Wolfe County jury found him guilty Thursday of first-degree manslaughter.

It’s a verdict Slayback’s family says is bittersweet.

“Our hearts dropped, and a big weight had been lifted off our shoulders, and we were able to breathe for the first time as a family,” Angela Stewart, Slayback’s mother, said Friday.

The verdict has led to a whirlwind of emotions for Slayback’s loved ones, including sighs of relief and gestures of thanks for the prosecutors and friends who had supported them through the three-year ordeal.

But those emotions were accompanied also by anger, sadness, grief and disbelief.

“Troy claimed that was his brother and best friend,” Megan Simpson, Slayback’s sister, said.

Simpson says she was there, standing on the steps when her brother was shot and killed.

“There’s no length of time that will ever be ok for us,” she said.

Simpson says she named her 3-month-old daughter Meadow Jarron Simpson after her brother. She remembers him as a man who was passionate about his job as a commercial roofer, that he loved fishing and spending time with his family.

“He walked in the room and he just lit up the whole room,” she said. “He loved joking around.”

Slayback’s fiancée, Tessa Jones says the two were planning to move to Tampa, Florida when he was killed.

“Very intense, very emotional,” Jones said. “It’s a different normal.”

Stewart’s mother made a heartfelt plea Friday for people to put he guns down.

“When you pull that trigger, you’re making a permanent decision,” she said.

His loved ones are committed to making sure his legacy is never forgotten.

“Troy might not be remembered in eighteen years, but Jarron will,” Stewart said. “Jarron’s life and memories that we shared with him will go on for a lifetime, and forever.”

The jury recommended a 20-year sentence for Dunkelberger. His sentencing will be held July 17.

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