Jane went back to the master bedroom and shot herself.
It was Dub who managed to crawl from his bedroom to the kitchen phone to call the police.
He heard his father, former councilman and insurance agent Tom Duston, shouting and screaming from the master bedroom. He was shot four times.
Tom told police his wife had done the shooting. He would later die at the hospital.
That night Dub lost his father, his sisters and his mother, Jane.
What happened to Jane Duston?
Dr. Charles Spears, the Taney County coroner, said Jane Duston, 46, underwent successful surgery for uterine cancer a month prior and had been taking medication for depression.
According to Spears, Jane Duston told her sister that she planned to wait until all her family members were together to kill them and herself so they would ”all go through the pearly gates together.”
Tom Duston, 49, removed guns from the home as a precaution. Or so he thought.
After shooting her husband four times in the master bedroom, she shot Mary Beth, 16, who was asleep in her room. Then she shot her daughter Leslie, 21, who was sleeping on a couch in the den, before going to Dub’s room to shoot him. She then proceeded back to the master bedroom to shoot herself twice in the chest.
Spears believes that the murders were not premeditated, but rather spontaneous.
Duston did not leave a suicide note.
Where is William “Dub” Duston now?
In 2018, Branson Tri-Lakes News reporter Sara Karnes caught up with Duston to discuss the 1991 morning murders.
“My mother felt like, if it was time for her to go off to heaven, we should probably all go together because that would be the best for everybody,” Duston told Karnes.
He was asked to describe the nightmare.
“Getting shot’s a hell of a thing,” Duston said. “It traverses my chest. I’ve got two collapsed lungs. I’m kind of throwing up blood everywhere.”
After hearing his father’s scream, Duston crawled to the kitchen and reaches for the phone.
“At that stage, I’m having a hard time seeing. I’m in and out of consciousness. At some stage, I’m passing out and bang up my chin. I’m over at this phone and I can’t read the numbers.” he told Karnes.
After several failed attempts to call 911, he called the operator.
Duston described the next thing he remembered being officers coming in, and being brought to the hospital while his father was still screaming.
Police asked who was responsible for this. Duston replied, “Mom did it.”
While being on a medical transport helicopter to Springfield, he recalled being right next to the pilot.
“He’ll reach back there and pump my little chest tube thing. He quits doing that to fly and I start throwing up blood all on myself. I’ll never forget – that guy, he turned around and his eyes got all big and he goes, ‘Oh, s—.’ I thought, ‘That’s not a good sign.’” said Duston.
He also could not hear his father yelling anymore.
Tom Duston died at a hospital.
It would be another two days before William would wake up.
“I finally wake up and there’s somebody that comes over and tells me everybody is dead,” Duston said.
He explained to Karnes that he moved in with a family friend. He is a graduate of Branson High School and has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Middle Tennessee State University, a Master’s Degree in History from James Madison University, a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and a Juris Doctorate of Law from American University in Washington D.C.
“I decided after my sophomore year that I really needed to get out,” he said. “The weight of things was a bit much. I wanted to go – sink or swim – on my own, not as Tom Duston’s son. I wanted to go and just be William Duston.”
He would switch from wanting to be a history professor to getting a law degree. This would eventually lead to Duston coming back to the Ozarks.
According to the Taney County Prosecutor website, after leaving private practice, he served as the Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Branson, Missouri from 2006 until 2018, and as the City Attorney from 2009 until 2018. William was elected Prosecuting Attorney for Taney County in November 2018 and took office as the elected prosecuting attorney for Taney County on January 1, 2019.