Judge seals arrest affidavit in Laurel murder case, suspect requests preliminary hearing

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:38 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Paperwork related to a quadruple homicide, in Laurel, Nebraska, was unsealed temporarily. But, it wasn’t made available to the general public.

Carrie Jones and her husband, Jason Jones, both face murder charges for a series of incidents that occurred in Laurel in August 2022. A judge ruled Monday that Carrie Jones’ lawyer will get a look at the arrest affidavit spelling out the details of her alleged crimes.

But the general public won’t get to see that affidavit after a judge ruled it would only be temporarily unsealed. The state’s attorney arguing the release of the affidavit, and the publicity that comes with it, could prevent Carrie Jones from getting a fair trial.

“While the state clearly recognizes that this was an impactful offense on such a small community, it may be very difficult to pick a jury in this community,” said State Attorney Corey O’Brien.

Carrie Jones’s lawyer, Doug Stratton, didn’t contest the judge’s ruling. He’ll get a hard copy of the affidavit, but he won’t receive an electronic copy.

“I - obviously - I’m not going to be a public publicizing any sort of those, the information contained there. And so I don’t think that’s a contested issue,” said Stratton.

O’Brien, the state’s attorney, said Jones’ trial could be moved as far away as Scottsbluff, Nebraska if publicity makes it impossible to seat an unbiased jury in Cedar County. O’Brien also floated Norfolk, or somewhere in Dakota County, as other potential options.

Carrie Jones also exercised her right to demand a preliminary hearing in County Court, which will be held on Feb. 15. At that hearing, a lower court judge will decide if there’s a basis for Jones’ charges to move back to District Court for trial.