From the Hit Man's Chase to the Father's Embrace--A Real Life Drama
by Luke Slayter*
Luke Slayter* grew up in an infamous organized crime family that continues to operate today. Through his association with this family, he knows a great deal about pain, suffering, terror, and tragedy. Yet in the midst of this pain and tragedy, Luke Slayter has discovered a special peace that surpasses all understanding. In this interview, names and places of Slayter's story have been changed to protect himself and his family.
Challenger: Mr. Slayter, could you share with us a description of your family?
Slayter: Well, most readers have probably heard of my family. Over 1,000 articles have been written about them in more than 33 publications. Eight television shows concerning my family have aired so far including Dateline NBC, American Justice, City Confidential and Law and Order. A book was also written about them.
Challenger: Did your father affiliate with the family?
Slayter: No, my dad and one of his sisters were the only ones of 13 children who chose not to become a part of the crime family.
Challenger: Does that mean your parents and siblings have been left alone by them?
Slayter: No, not at all. My relatives were very angry at my father and set out to destroy us many times.
Challenger: I can’t believe they would do that. Why were they so angry?
Slayter: The reasons for their anger are numerous. The main reason is extreme jealousy. My dad became very successful in the same highly competitive business as his brothers and sisters. He also knew about some of their criminal activities and refused to participate in them regardless of their repeated demands to join them. My dad had also been gathering evidence to put them away legally and they found out about it.
Challenger: Did you know about this when you were a child?
Slayter: Oh yes. Something was always happening. First, our house was burned to the ground because my dad refused to buy the family’s house and business. Someone then tried to machine gun my dad down when he was in his office. They shot 28 bullets into his office. The only reason my dad survived was because he stepped out just a few moments before the attack.
After several other attacks failed, two men strapped three sticks of dynamite to his car steering column. His secretary started the car and was blown up. I was in fifth grade at the time and the story made the front page of the newspaper. The next day at school some kids brought the picture and article to school to show everybody.
Challenger: That must have been very difficult. How did these events affect you?
Slayter: I was frightened a lot. I was often afraid something would happen to my father. I also felt very different from the other kids. Who else has his father on the front page because someone is trying to kill him?
When I was 12 I found a dozen sticks of dynamite next to my home. These just aren’t normal events that happen to the average kid. My friends are going to play baseball while I’m finding dynamite. If I hadn’t found the dynamite our house would have been blown apart and my entire family could have been killed.
Challenger: Have there been threats to your family lives since then?
Slayter: The threats and attempts have never stopped. There have been countless threats made to my father and our family in public and even before the police.
My father and his bodyguards were often run off the road while being shot at. Our tires were slashed; sugar was poured into his gas tank; and two of his prize animals were poisoned.
Challenger: Is your father alive today?
Slayter: No, he was murdered during my 16th birthday celebration. Even though I wasn’t a Christian then, I look back and see how God was protecting me that night.
I was upstairs when I heard a loud blast. I didn’t know what to think, but I immediately heard a voice inside me telling me to get down on my hands and knees and crawl to my room. I briefly looked down the stairway and thought I saw someone lurking in the dark. That scared me so much that I quickly began crawling to my room. I started to turn on the light for the hallway just outside my room but just as I was reaching for the switch, a voice told me to leave the light off.
When I got to my room I had no idea that my father’s killer was standing right below my window watching my father to make sure he was actually dead. He had just shot my dad in the heart while he played bridge.
If I hadn’t been slowed down by crawling to my room, when I looked out my window, the hit man could have shot me too. I believe to this day that God was protecting me then.
Challenger: What happened after the murder?
Slayter: There was a six-month investigation and three years of legal maneuvers before the sentencing of all the hit men involved. During that time the crime family managed to intimidate many witnesses from testifying. It was a very fearful time. Later, a hit list was published on a major newspaper. My mother and sister were near the top of the list. After my mother sued the crime family for killing her husband and won, my mother and sister became number one and number two on the crime family list.
We lived in constant fear. We never knew if our car would blow up each time we started it. We were always in a state of alertness, ready to defend ourselves. We always carried firearms.
Each time I came home and it was dark, I would pull out a revolver and circle the neighborhood to look for any suspicious activities or cars. When I was close enough to the house, I would activate our home special lighting system. It lit up our six-acre estate nearly as bright as a large sports stadium. While looking for henchmen, I w uld open the garage door with another control. I always kept my finger on the trigger ready to shoot anything that might slip under the garage door. Cautiously, I would enter our home and immediately reactivate the security system while calling out that it was me who had entered. This became a regular way of existence for me.
Challenger: Were you a Christian at that time?
Slayter: No. I was a very distraught young man who didn’t know God. I sought comfort through the ways of the world: drinking, drugs, promiscuous women, high speed motorcycles and cars. What pushed me into overwhelming bitterness and terror was the front page publishing of the hit list with my mother and sister’s names on it. I sought refuge in all the wrong places. I even moved out of state, but my problems and terror moved with me.
Challenger: How did you finally become a Christian?
Slayter: After my dad’s murder I prayed every night the same prayer that my mother and sister would not be murdered too. One day while I was grieving over my rotten life I felt a strange, warm and loving feeling. It was the presence of God. I soon prayed a serious prayer and asked God for a sign that He was real. Instantly, there were two loud bangs as God rearranged the books on my bookshelf. He placed the Bible on top of several other books. I began reading it almost everyday from that time on. I also became allergic to alcohol that year. What a blessing that was. However, I continued to live my wild lifestyle and was still consumed by bitterness and hate. Later, I heard about a distant friend who was extremely wild and was involved in heavy powerful drugs. She was totally set free and living the Christian live. I was really amazed to the point that I went to see her and found out what happened. There was a man there who had led her to the Lord. He started telling me about Jesus and said that I could become Christian too. We prayed to God asking Him for forgiveness and invited Him into my life and I got baptized in the swimming pool that day.
Jesus is the answer to my stresses and worries. Although it doesn’t mean the problems necessarily go away but I can have complete peace about them. The Christian life is absolutely and truly the best way to live in this world. It’s the only way to Heaven. I truly experience what Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”