Whiteman Road location of shooting. Photo: Lisa Bryan, KP News

In the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 3, Pierce County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call from a woman reporting that two people had been shot at a residence in the 5500 block of Whiteman Road in Longbranch and a suspect had fled the property. Deputies found Lukas Slawson, 35, along with his wife, Beth Hamlin-Slawson, 25, of Vaughn, shot dead in the driveway of what was once the family home where Hamlin-Slawson grew up with her parents and sisters.

Deputies en route to the scene arrested Cory Nathan Mason, 27, at gunpoint, after spotting him walking north on Whiteman Road. Mason had also called 911 from a wooded area near the scene of the shooting, a mobile home where he reportedly lived with Hamlin-Slawson’s 18-year-old sister. (KP News is not naming because she may be a domestic violence victim).

During his report to 911, Mason claimed he had shot two people in self-defense.

Mason was arraigned in Pierce County Superior Court Feb. 7 and charged with two counts of homicide in the second degree for the alleged murders with bail set at $2 million. He remains in custody awaiting trial, which is scheduled to begin April 2, 2018.

“This was a family dispute gone horribly wrong. There were allegations of domestic violence, an argument over the sale of a handgun, and it all played out at 2:20 a.m. You have to think there is a better time and way to resolve family disputes,” said Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist, in a written statement issued Feb. 7.

A witness to the event, Lisa Hamlin, the mother of Beth Hamlin-Slawson, told detectives that Mason and Beth argued over the sale of a handgun and an alleged domestic violence incident between Mason and Beth’s 18-year old sister.

According to the statement from the prosecutor’s office, the Slawsons and Mason reportedly arrived at the scene close to the same time in separate vehicles. Lisa Hamlin was in the vehicle with Mason at the time when Beth allegedly approached and began attacking the car with a “hammer-like object.” Lisa Hamlin told investigators she made an attempt to de-escalate the situation, got out of the car and grabbed the object from Beth. Mason drove approximately 50 feet away and parked the vehicle.

As Mason moved the car, Lukas Slawson began firing a gun at a different vehicle Mason had parked on the property. Mason got out of his car, continued the argument with Beth, and shot her once in the chest. Slawson, with his own gun still in hand, approached and asked Mason if he had shot his wife. Mason replied with a single bullet to Slawson’s chest.

The entire scene unfolded as the Slawsons’ 2-year-old son sat in the backseat of his parents’ vehicle.

Mason and the Hamlin family are no strangers to tragedy. Amanda Hamlin, daughter of Howard and Lisa Hamlin, died Nov. 1, 2015, at the age of 23, after losing control of the car she was driving in the rain on the KP Highway just north of Home. She was five months pregnant and engaged to Mason, her longtime boyfriend. (“Remembering Amanda Hamlin,” KP News, Dec. 2015).

Slawson’s 16-year-old daughter and the couple’s toddler son are in the custody of their paternal grandmother, Debra Slawson-Farrell, of Gig Harbor.

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