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A Mother And Son Featured On "Wife Swap" Were Murdered By A Member Of Their Family

Jacob Stockdale was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering his brother James and his mother, Kathy.

Jacob Stockdale, whose family was on Wife Swap Season 4, was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering his mother, Kathy, and his brother James.

The logo and title card for Wife Swap
ABC

The premise of the show was that two wives from opposite families would go to live with the other family for two weeks. The first week, they would follow the rules of the original family. The second week, the wives would implement their own rules in the hopes that each family could learn from the other. 

The Stockdales, who lived in seclusion and isolation at Kathy's insistence in order to "protect the boys from bad influences," appeared alongside the Tonkovic family.

Images of the Stockdale and Tonkovic families
ABC

The Tonkovics were a laid-back family that consisted of mom Laurie, dad John, and their son T-Vic and daughter Meghan, alongside both of the kids' live-in significant others. 

The Stockdales did not allow their kids to have friends and made them work incredibly hard to earn tokens, which they could spend on things like listening to the radio.

A son putting a token on the chore chart
ABC

In 2018, years after the family had been featured on the show, Jacob (the second youngest son) went on trial for the murder of his youngest brother, James, and his mother, Kathy. Jacob had also attempted to take his own life.

The Stockdales chillin' in the living room
ABC

Timothy, the father, was not home at the time, and the older brothers, Calvin and Charles, had since moved out of the family home. 

Earlier this year, Jacob Stockdale was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime.

Mugshot of Jacob Stockdale
Stark County Sheriff's Office

Calvin Stockdale, the oldest brother, issued this statement shortly after the shooting:

James, our youngest brother, has always been a catalyst of family fun. He leaves behind many friends and a family that loved him dearly. My brother, Jacob, is still in critical condition and we are praying for his physical recovery as our family makes funeral plans and begins the healing process.

While no official motive was released as to why Jacob killed his mother and brother, Laurie Tonkovic — the wife who swapped with his family — speculated that his lack of free will "caught up to [Jacob.]"

When I switched the rules and I was going to let them have fun, let them have a television and video games, and experience life a little bit, [Jacob] ran outside crying. And when I went out after him, I asked him what was wrong, and he said that his mom and dad would tell him that he would ‘burn in hell.’ God gives you free will – free will, they didn’t have. They weren’t allowed to make choices. I think it just caught up to him.”

UPDATE

This post has been edited to align with our editorial standards.

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