Voices and Silence

It was no secret that Jason Molacek heard voices telling him to murder. Cops, counselors, his parents--they all knew. So why didn't anyone stop him before he shot his mom to death?



--A permanent warning to law enforcement appearing at the top of the 911 dispatcher's log the day Jason Molacek called to report that he'd shot his mother.

Photo image courtesy of Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

On June 11, Jason Molacek got up at about 8:30, got dressed, had a cigarette, went outside, and smoked some pot. Around 9:30, he started watching a movie. He stopped after a little while, though, and went to his parents' bedroom, where he began gathering "money and stuff." Under their bed, he found a box containing a Ruger handgun. The 19-year-old used a grinder to break the lock on the gun, but he couldn't find any ammunition for it. So he took a crowbar to the gun cabinet in the basement and removed a hunting rifle. He loaded the Remington .30-06 and laid it across a chair.

Molacek got out a red Igloo cooler and filled it with "stuff I could drink, namely Mountain Dew and not any alcohol," according to the police reports in his case. Then he packed a nylon backpack with a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia, several psychiatric medications, and a few possessions. He filled a beer stein with change he'd collected from around the house. The coins were a sore spot for Jason--his parents, concerned that he was buying pot, had stopped giving him much money.

The plan, he later told officers, was to kill his mother, take her van, and go cash in the change. Later he would return and wait around to kill his father, too. Then he would pack up the van and flee.

For years, voices had commanded Molacek to kill people. Usually it was his parents or himself, sometimes teachers and classmates. Seeking to quiet the voices, he had seen countless doctors and undergone numerous hospitalizations. Once, in utter desperation, he'd even called the police on himself. In the last few days, however, Molacek had achieved a kind of peace: He accepted that he was going to give in to the voices.

At about 2:00 Cheryl Molacek called and said she was on her way home to Maple Grove from her job as a technician at Boston Scientific Sci-Med. Jason smoked another cigarette and some more pot, and spent a while learning to fire the gun, which was not an easy matter for him. When his mother got home, he was in the hallway walking toward the kitchen, he would later tell police, holding the rifle and "shaking real bad." She asked what he was doing, he recalled, and "I just started losing it." He shot her once, and she fell next to the bags he'd packed.

He sat down in a chair a few feet away. "I couldn't get myself together, I was crying so bad," he told police. "I could barely speak. I was trying to say I was sorry." Cheryl Molacek rolled over and asked her son to call 911. He dialed and talked to the dispatcher for a moment, but then threw the phone down next to his mother, walked out to the deck, and cocked the gun. He was going to kill himself, "'cause I thought I just killed my mother."

Police arrived less than two minutes later and started searching the premises for him. Several officers took positions behind the house alongside some power lines. One asked 911 dispatchers to call Elm Creek Elementary and lock down the school, even though classes for the day were about to end. Officers also locked down a nearby Kinder Care. A state police helicopter was requested.

In a downstairs family room, Officer Richard Radintz found the broken gun cabinet. After finding the house empty, Radintz went outside. He saw a young man sitting on the deck holding a rifle between his legs, pointed at his chin. Radintz ordered the man to drop the gun, but he "just sat there with his head down," according to the police report.

"I was finally able to get him to say his name to me," Radnitz reported. "He then asked about his mother. I advised that she would be fine, and again told him to drop the gun. He told me that if he dropped the gun, it would go off. I then instructed him to raise his left arm above his head. As he did this, Detective Strauch came around the corner of the upstairs patio door and did grab the barrel of the rifle out of the right hand of the suspect." (Later Jason Molacek would explain to a psychiatrist why he hadn't gone through with killing himself: "I know my mother wouldn't have liked that.")

At Maple Grove police headquarters, Molacek was questioned by a detective and by Dan Hamann, an officer who had been at his house two years earlier. Police had gone to the Molacek house 19 times in the years preceding the shooting; the call Hamann answered was placed by Jason Molacek himself. He told Hamann then that he had urges to hurt his parents and that he stood over his mother with a pillow while she slept. Now Molacek and Hamann revisited that talk. Hamann pointed out that Molacek had never talked about using any of the guns kept in the house. It had never occurred to him, Molacek replied, until the week before.

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