Laurel murder suspect remains in hospital guarded by private security

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:15 PM CDT
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LAUREL, NE (KTIV) - A man accused of murdering four people in Laurel, Nebraska almost two months ago still hasn’t made his first court appearance.

Jason Jones, of Laurel, is still being treated for severe burns he suffered in the aftermath of the incident.

Two key points to note: Jones is still hospitalized two months later, and so his court case remains idle. And we’ve also learned from the Nebraska State Patrol-- the agency leading the investigation-- that Jones isn’t being guarded by state troopers.

Instead, Jones is under guard by a private security firm hired by the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office.

His court docket is mostly empty besides local news organizations asking to record his first court appearance, whenever that is. A spokesperson for CHI Health St. Elizabeth’s, in Lincoln, Nebraska, declined to release Jones’ current medical condition.

But, but authorities said he was in “serious condition” at the time of his arrest on August 5.

As a reminder Jones is accused of killing four people at two different crime scenes, in Laurel, on August 4th of this year.

Police say Jones killed 53-year-old Michele Ebeling at her home, before breaking into another home a few blocks away. There, investigators say Jones killed 86-year-old Gene Twiford, 85-year-old Janet Twiford, and 55-year-old Dana Twiford.

In a sworn court filing, an investigator said Jones burned himself after setting fire to both homes which eventually lead to his hospitalization.

We tried to ask Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda how much the sheriff’s office was paying for the private security, but we never heard back. Cedar County taxpayers may also be on the hook for Jones’ medical bills because he’s currently in their custody even though he’s in the hospital.