EDWARDSVILLE — A Troy man who murdered a woman by dousing her with gasoline and setting her home ablaze has been sentenced to 50 years in prison, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine announced Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

Michael E. Sloan Jr., 41, pleaded guilty in January to a charge of first-degree murder. He admitted that he set fire to the home of 69-year-old Susanne Tomlinson in the 500 block of Wood Thrush in Troy on Sept. 22, 2022, knowing that she was inside.

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The fire resulted in the death of Tomlinson. The defendant is required to serve 100 percent of the sentence, meaning he would be 91 before he is eligible for parole. “This sentence, which is effectively a life sentence, brings accountability for the heinous and cruel actions committed by the defendant against an innocent life,” Haine said. “This sentence reflects the gravity of the crime, the impact it had on the victim’s family, and the unwavering commitment of the State’s Attorney’s Office to protect the innocent. Our prayer is that this sentence helps the victim’s family navigate the difficult path of healing after their profound loss.”

The fire was preceded by a domestic disturbance involving Sloan and Tomlinson’s daughter, Courtney Tomlinson. Sloan attacked and threw gasoline onto Courtney Tomlinson, but she managed to escape and seek help. Sloan then went to the home of Susanne Tomlinson and dumped gasoline onto her. When police arrived, they saw Sloan hold a cigarette lighter above his head and flick the lighter, resulting in a fire. Sloan had yelled to police that he intended to kill everyone.

At Sloan’s sentencing Monday, Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Maricle, chief of the Violent Crimes Unit for the State’s Attorney’s Office, asked Associate Judge Neil Schroeder to impose the 50-year sentence. Maricle argued that, after Courtney Tomlinson escaped from Sloan, he “decided to hurt her in another way.” Maricle told the judge that Sloan “burned Susanne Tomlinson alive.”

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Flames and heavy smoke hindered attempts to get into the burning home. Susanne Tomlinson died of smoke inhalation and burn injuries. Sloan was rescued from the fire and taken into custody after receiving medical treatment at a hospital.

Haine thanked Troy Police, Troy Fire Protection District, Madison County Coroner, Illinois State Police and Illinois State Fire Marshal for their diligent work on the case. He also commended Maricle and Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Stewart, who also serves on the Violent Crimes Unit of the State’s Attorney’s Office.

“Our prosecution team worked diligently to ensure that truth and justice prevailed,” Haine said. “The victim, a loving mother, lost her life in a senseless act of violence that shocked our community. Today’s sentence sends a message that such acts will not be tolerated, and those responsible will face severe consequences.”

Courtney Tomlinson, in a victim-impact statement, called Sloan an “absolute monster.”

She thanked the police officers and rescue personnel, prosecutors Maricle and Stewart, the victim advocates at the State’s Attorney’s Office and her family, friends and church members for their support. This charge and the statements made herein are based upon probable cause.

The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty

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