Bail set at $5M for Nebraska quadruple killing suspect

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)

A judge set bail at $5 million on Monday for a man suspected of killing four people and trying to burn down their homes in the small northeast Nebraska town of Laurel last week.

Court records show Cedar County Judge Douglas Luebe set bond at 10% of $5 million for 42-year-old Jason Jones, meaning he would have to put up $500,000 to be released from jail while he awaits trial.

“The defendant is considered an extreme danger to public safety,” the judge wrote in his bond order.

Neither Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc nor a spokeswoman for CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln, where Jones is being treated for serious burns, would give Jones’ current medical condition on Monday.

Jones is charged with 10 felonies, including four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson and four weapons counts. Investigators have said Jones shot and killed his neighbor across the street, 53-year-old Michele Ebeling, early Thursday morning before setting her house on fire, then went three blocks south, broke into another home and fatally shot three people there: 86-year-old Gene Twiford; his wife, 85-year-old Janet Twiford; and their 55-year-old daughter, Dana Twiford.

Jones also set fire to the Twiford home, police said.

During the investigation into the killings, the Nebraska State Patrol said they found a backpack and receipts belonging to Jones showing the purchase of a gas can and other items. A pistol registered to Jones was also found at the Twifords’ home, the patrol said.

Authorities have not commented on a possible motive for the killings, but charging documents allege Jones killed the Twifords while trying to carry out a burglary.

Laurel is a small city of about 1,000 that lies about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Omaha.