John Shively killed son Zachary Shively over pennies: Police

Screengrab via WMVT. Inset: Dane County (Wisc.) Sheriff’s Office

A father has been charged with murder after allegedly admitted to killing his son while the two were fighting over the son’s demand for $2.50.

John C. Shively, 64, is accused of shooting his son Zachary S. Shively, 25, as the two were fighting over money. Police in Madison, Wisconsin said in an incident report that officers responded on June 22, 2023 to calls to a home at around 6:38 p.m.

“Upon arrival, an adult male was located deceased inside a residence,” the incident report said. Officers recovered a firearm at the scene and took who was then described as a “person of interest” into custody without incident.

“He provided a statement to investigators, saying he and the victim were arguing over finances when the argument turned physical,” the incident report said.

A criminal complaint revealed the extent of the “finances” over which the two men were fighting, according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Zachary Shively had reportedly demanded that his father give him $2.50, but the older man only had $2 and what amounted to a little over 30 cents in change. He told police that his son “kept hammering” that he needed 25 cents more, the complaint said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

John Shively reportedly said that the fight was about more than just the amount of money; he said he owes taxes on his house and had fallen behind on mortgage and credit card payments, and the fight was about several bad decisions. It eventually escalated to a physical confrontation, with Zachary Shively allegedly hitting his father on the upper arm and pushing him into the corner, where he landed in a chair and bumped his head — although John Shively said he was not injured from that.

The complaint reportedly said that John Shively then tried to go upstairs, but his son grabbed him from behind and continued to hit him. John Shively reportedly grabbed his son’s gun — which he had left on a ledge at the bottom of the stairs after reportedly using it to fire shots from a moving car earlier that night — and fired “point blank” as Zachary Shively allegedly approached him.

According to the complaint, Zachary Shively died from a single gunshot wound to the heart and aorta, the State Journal report said.

“I foolishly thought that with a gun right at him that he would just finally give me respite,” John Shively allegedly told police.

“I can’t tell you how much I regret that I picked it up,” he allegedly told police, according to the State Journal, adding that he thought his son would “finally back down” with a gun pointed at him.

“It was a big argument for (25 cents), is that insane or …” he also reportedly said.

After firing on his son, John Shively allegedly told a man who lived with them to “call 911,” the complaint says, according to the State Journal story. John Shively himself also called the emergency line.

“I pulled the trigger,” he reportedly said while sitting in a squad car after police arrived.

The fighting apparently occurred after the Shivelys had gone to a family gathering earlier in the day but came home after they started arguing about money.

Court records show that Shively has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and use of a dangerous weapon. He posted bond on July 25 and has a hearing scheduled for Aug. 1.

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John Shively killed son Zachary Shively over pennies: Police

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