Keokuk True Crime

 Love Stinks (or Faulty Wiring)

Dan Ramsey was an 18 year old high school dropout living in Keokuk with his grandparents . He thought they were his parents till they age of 9 when it was disclosed to him that his mother had him out of wedlock and his grandparents had raised him. Ramsey was forced to take kindergarten twice, he seemed to have no friends, for show and tell he would bring keys and tell the other students what he could open with them. Later on he obtained a police scanner and would arrive at fires and accidents. He carried a briefcase to school rather than a backpack like most students and he told them he worked for the FBI, displaying an obviously self created badge he had made. He also started to carry a ring on his belt full of keys and again would tell people what he could unlock with them. His fascination with the police and radios manifested itself very strongly within him and led to problems later on when using the information that he had heard on the radio.

He had trouble with local law enforcement and was arrested for theft, burglary, assault and harassment. He came across to some as calm and polite and to others as a social misfit and bizarre. My own daughter has recollections of him being the slightly odd fellow who would ride his bike around town with a walkie talkie and claiming to talk to the police and other authorities.

Ramsey had a relationship with Rachel Sloop of Burnside, Illinois, about 25 miles northeast of Keokuk. Rachel was 17 at the time, living in her mother, Barb’s, house with her sister Lonna, age 12. They had met at the local YMCA and she started dating Ramsey and went to the prom with him.They had dated for awhile but Rachel had broke off the relationship in the early summer of 1996. She later claimed that Ramsey was smothering her with his attention, came to the house every day and stayed a few weekends and even continued to call and visit after the breakup. He was obsessed with Rachel and could not accept the fact that it was over between them. Ramsey was upset that Rachel no longer wanted to see him and became angry and depressed.

On Monday July 8th, 1996, Ramsey once again showed up at the Sloop residence. Rachel, her mother, her sister Lonna, Kim Haist and her two children Cody and Courtnie Hamelton were present. Kim’s sister Michelle was present, too. Kim was there because of problems with her ex-boyfriend, Terry Hamelton. He apparently had set fire to Kim’s car a few days before. Kim’s brother, Terry Haist was engaged to Rachel’s older sister, Amy.

After spending some time there at the Sloop residence talking about the car fire, Ramsey drove Kim into Carthage, Illinois so she could run some errands. They returned to the house and Barb came home from work. She started fixing dinner and told Rachel that Ramsey had to leave as they did not have enough food to feed him. He was told to leave by Rachel and he took his time hanging around, but finally left after calling Rachel a ‘bitch’. Ramsey drove back to Keokuk with Michelle who informed Ramsey that Rachel was only dating him because he gave her gifts. Michelle later stated that Rachel and Ramsey had been arguing that day. He repeatedly asked Michelle to go with him back to Illinois and Michelle repeatedly said no, becoming aggravated with Ramsey’s repetitive asking. So Ramsey left on his own.

Afterwards he got a .22 pistol, wire cutters, duct tape and a radio scanner which he put in his car, a tan Ford. He then drove back into Illinois.

On the evening of July 8th, Ramsey went to the house of another friend, Laura Marson, aged 16, who lived in Basco, Illinois, about 15 miles southeast of Keokuk. He arrived about 11 PM and asked if she wanted to go for a ride and talk. Laura agreed after seeking an okay from her mother, who said to be back in 30 minutes. Ramsey had known Laura for some time, talking to her almost daily on the phone and visiting their house to watch television with Laura.

According to Ramsey’s account, the two left and started driving around the countryside with Ramsey talking about his breakup with Rachel Sloop. Laura took Rachel’s side and told Ramsey that Rachel still wanted to be friends with him, just not ‘girlfriend – boyfriend’. They proceeded to argue and Ramsey called her a bitch, Laura slapped him and Ramsey punched her. He stopped the car near a grain bin, Laura got out of the car, Ramsey also got out of the car and they shoved each other around a bit. Laura got back in the car followed by Ramsey and he then pinned her down and ripped at her clothes. She told him to stop and to quit but he ended up raping her. Laura told Ramsey that because of the rape they were no longer friends and she was going to tell people what he had done to her.

Ramsey apparently snapped or this was his grand plan. He taped her mouth , eyes and nose, then taped her hands and wrists. When Laura made a break and tried to run, he taped her legs also. He then carried her to the grain bin and placed her inside, went back to the car, got the pistol and shot her twice in the head, killing her.

Ramsey at this point told investigators it was his intent to commit suicide and to have Rachel Sloop witness him doing it. He traveled to Carthage, stopped at a gas station, and called Barb Sloop telling her that Kim’s apartment was ransacked and that she and Kim should come to town. He then left for the Sloop residence, turned out his headlights and waited till the adults left. He then parked his car beyond the home and walked through a cornfield to the back door of the house. He had a flashlight , wire cutters and the .22 pistol.

After she got the phone call from Ramsey, Barb woke Rachel and told her that she was leaving with Kim to see about Kim’s apartment in Carthage and told her to watch the house. This was about 11:30 at night. Rachel woke Lonna and they both went downstairs into the living room and turned on the television. Lonna fell asleep on the couch.

Once Barb and Kim got into town, they went to the apartment, found nothing wrong and went to the police and tried to call home, but only getting a busy signal each time. The police then told her and Kim to wait at the station while they went to the Sloop’s residence.

Meanwhile, Ramsey approached the back door of the house and stopped to cut the phone line that was by the back entrance. He then walked inside and startled Rachel while he walked towards her. He asked to speak to her in the dining room, so she went in and sat down at the table and they talked and smoked cigarettes. Ramsey was pleading with her to resume their relationship and Rachel kept trying to change the subject. She mentioned that the dogs needed to be brought inside, Ramsey followed her to the front door, she let the dogs in and they resumed talking at the table.

While sitting and talking at the table, Rachel saw car headlights coming up the driveway towards the house and mentioned it to Ramsey. Ramsey at that point shot Rachel in the head, she ended up still sitting at the table with her head on the table, drifting in and out of consciousness. He then got up, went into the other room pointed the gun at Lonna who said “Don’t shoot me”, and then shot her twice. He then went to the bedroom where Cody and Courtnie were sleeping and shot each one in the head. He then put the handgun to his head and tried to fire, but the gun misfired. He then grabbed a shotgun laying under a bed and attempted to shoot himself and succeeded in only grazing his head.

Rachel was still on the table when he returned and Ramsey let the blood from his wound pour onto Rachel. He then asked her to lay down on the floor next to him and he proceeded to touch her all over. She told him to “Stop touching her before I die” and asked if he had shot anyone else. Ramsey stated that he had shot and probably killed her sister Lonna but denied shooting the other two children. She asked if she could use the bathroom and Ramsey said no, but she said she would leave the door open and he agreed to let her go to the bathroom. When she came out, she did not see Ramsey, so she headed for the front door and he followed her to be arrested immediately.

The police had the house surrounded when Rachel and Ramsey came out. It was 5:52 in the morning of July 9, 1996. Police entered the Sloop house and found Lonna Sloop dead from gunshot wounds to the head and the two children upstairs with gunshot wounds to the head and in critical condition. Ramsey was taken to the  police station where he waived all rights and gave a full confession.

Daniel Ramsey was found guilty of all charges leveled at him and was given the death sentence. The governor of Illinois later abolished the death penalty and he was to serve life in prison. Ramsey appealed for another trial and it was granted, he was found guilty a second time and returned to the prison to serve his life sentence.

Faulty wiring indeed, Ramsey was one mixed up individual, his aggressiveness was never seen as violent and his actions against Laura and Lonna were never foretold even though in his youth he was counseled by three professionals.

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