Neighbor charged with murder in 4 Nebraska deaths: police

Midwest

(NewsNation) — Police investigating the deaths of four people found in two burning homes in Laurel, Nebraska, charged a neighbor with murder on Friday, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

The NSP charged Jason A. Jones, 42, with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson and four counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony.

A police team arrested Jones, using flash explosions as a distraction, “without any violence” in Laurel at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Jones had been badly burned and was flown to a hospital in Lincoln so he has not been formally charged, Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc said at a news conference.

“I want to acknowledge the indescribable grief that this community is experiencing right now,” Bolduc said. “And that is going to be compounded by the betrayal of trust that they’re going to feel because a community member here is alleged to have committed these crimes.”

Bolduc said Jones lives across the street from one of the burned homes.

According to Bolduc, firefighters responded to a 911 call about an explosion just after 3 a.m. on Thursday at a residence where they discovered one deceased individual.

While responding to that scene, firefighters were alerted to a second burning home “a few blocks away.” Three people were found dead at the second scene, according to Bolduc.

According to a release from the Nebraska State Patrol, gunfire is now being suspected to have played a part in the incidents.

“We’re not categorizing it as anything right now,” Bolduc said.

Officials identified the victims as Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, and Dana Twiford, 55, who all lived in one house. The victim in the other house was identified as 53-year-old Michele Ebeling.

Jones lived across the street from Ebeling and within three blocks of the Twiford home, Bolduc said.

Bolduc declined to give a suspected motive for the arrest or to say if Jones knew those who were killed.

Barricades block off a portion of Elm Street in Laurel, Neb., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a situation with multiple fatalities that occurred in Laurel on Thursday morning. Emergency personnel from the state patrol, Belden and the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department were working in the area. (Riley Tolan-Keig/The Norfolk Daily News via AP)

NewsNation affiliate KCAU and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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