The Edwardsville double homicide of 79-year-old Michael Ladd, and wife, 68-year-old Dr. Lois Ladd, hit close to home on the morning of Monday, March 18, 2019.
The couple lived on 800 North Kansas Street, in Edwardsville, Illinois. The residence is cloistered and engulfed by a wooded residential area. Madison County officers found the victims stabbed to death around 10:30 a.m., after a coworker from Lois Ladd’s office called and insisted they check on her.
Michael Ladd was a general contractor and Lois was a chiropractor. Tom Gibbons, the Madison County State’s Attorney, stated “This is a brutal and heinous murder. They are absolutely innocent and wonderful people, whose lives are lost and who leave behind an amazing family, a tremendous number of friends and community members who know and love them.”
The seemingly homeless 23-year-old Zachary I. Capers has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder for the stabbing deaths of the couple, as well as alternative counts that will allow flexibility to the prosecution of the case. Capers was arrested on March 17, approximately 20 miles north from the Ladd’s residence in Worden, Illinois, the same day the couple was murdered. There is no evidence that the couple knew Capers.
The Belleville News-Democrat stated that Capers had been living a troubled life for years, and received different accounts from his high-school classmates.
Sierra Pratt, a previous classmate of Capers, said she had the impression that he carried most of his belongings in a gym bag and sometimes didn’t have enough food to eat. “I didn’t know if it was because he didn’t have a stable home life or he just wanted to bounce around,” said Pratt, now a stay-at-home mother of three in Hartford. “There were times when I thought, ‘I wish I could help him,’ but I didn’t know what to do.”
Dakota Parish, another of Capers previous classmates, remembers Capers as a bit of a “drifter,” who would sometimes hang out with the party crowd at a Sonic drive-in after school but usually kept to himself. “He was like the quiet kid with a short temper, I saw him blow up a few times in high school. It was mostly because of teachers getting on his case about grades. … I never saw him get in any fights, but I heard him yell.”
Capers was first arrested on an outstanding warrant for an unrelated incident. Shortly afterward, investigators linked him to the murders. Capers has pleaded not guilty.
Gibbons also stated, “The only reason we will be seeking a life sentence is because I do not have the death penalty available to me, if I did, we would be pursuing the death penalty in this case.”
The Ladd’s were known for their kindness, selflessness and fun-loving energy.
Anyone who has information on the Ladd case is encouraged to contact the Major Case Squad or to dial 618-307-1611.