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Behind bars

Murder suspect is out of hospital; court date set

LINCOLN — The suspect in the Laurel quadruple homicide will have his first court hearing Wednesday, Nov. 2.

Judge Douglas Luebbe set the arraignment date for Jason A. Jones, 42, Laurel, who will appear by video conferencing for the hearing.

Jones was discharged from CHI St. Elizabeth in Lincoln last week and is now behind bars at the Nebraska Department of Corrections in Lincoln.

He is accused of four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree arson, and four counts of use of a firearm to commit a felony in the Aug. 4 deaths of his neighbors, Michele Shankles-Ebeling, 53, Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, and Dana Twiford, 55.

First responders were called to 209 Elm St. in Laurel around 3 a.m., Aug. 4 to the report of an explosion and house fire, finding Michele Shankles-Ebeling, 53, deceased. About five hours later, local law enforcement on scene noticed smoke coming from a home a few blocks away at 503 Elm St.

Gene Twiford, his wife, Janet, and their daughter, Dana, were found to be deceased at that home.

All of the victims were found with what appeared to be gunshot wounds, according to court documents.

Law enforcement were able to get a search warrant of the Ebeling home and found a red fuel container inside the front door and noticed a trail indicating the use of accelerants to help ignite the fire. A backpack was also found, containing receipts that led back to Jones. Investigators said it appeared access to the Twiford home was gained by a pry bar. A firearm was found on the living room floor, along with an incendiary device, according to court documents.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 5, the Nebraska State Patrol SWAT Team found Jones with significant burns while they were serving a warrant at his home in Laurel. Jones was transported to CHI St. Elizabeth, Lincoln, where he received treatment until his release last week.