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Prosecutors Will Seek Death Penalty In Northeast Nebraska Murder Case

     Prosecutors in northeastern Nebraska will seek the death penalty for a man charged in the killings of four people last summer in the small town of Laurel, about 100 miles northwest of Omaha.

      Assistant Attorney General Corey O’Brien filed notice on Tuesday of aggravating circumstances that would justify a death sentence for 42-year old Jason Jones.

     Jones faces 4 counts of 1st-degree murder in the August deaths of his neighbor, 53-year old Michele Ebeling and of 86-year old Gene Twiford, his 85-year old wife Janet, and their 55-year old daughter Dana. 

       He also faces multiple weapons charges for the fatal shootings and arson charges for allegedly starting fires at both the Twiford and Ebeling homes after the murders.

    The aggravating criteria laid out by O’Brien include multiple killings in a short period of time, killings while committing other felonies, murdering witnesses, and setting the fires to try to hide his identity.

      Jones is scheduled for arraignment on Monday, but has filed notice that he will not enter a plea because his attorneys from the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy are challenging the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty.

     Jones was arrested at his wife’s home, across the street from Ebeling’s, the day after the murders. He had suffered severe burns and spent 2 months in the hospital before being released and moved to a state facility in Lincoln to await trial.

     Jones’ wife, 43-year-old Carrie Jones, is charged with 1st-degree murder in the death of Gene Twiford, as well as tampering with evidence and being an accessory after the fact for hiding her husband.

      Her arrest affidavit has been sealed, so no details are known on what she’s accused of doing to bring the charges. Carrie Jones is being held on $1 million dollars bail and is set to be arraigned on Tuesday. 

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