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Protection orders tie into Laurel murder case

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HARTINGTON – Three protection orders have been filed against a murder suspect’s wife.

Brian Welch of Laurel filed and was granted a protection order against Carrie Jones of Laurel last week from Cedar County District Court Judge Bryan Meismer. After being served, Jones requested a hearing and one was set for Dec. 1.

Two other protection orders – filed by neighbors Alan and Sherry Pallas – were filed and granted also last week.

Welch’s fiancee, Michele Shankles-Ebeling, was killed Aug. 4 in Laurel and the home where the couple lived was set on fire. Welch was not at home at the time.

Jason A. Jones, 42, of Laurel, who lived across the street, was arrested on suspicion of murder and arson in the case. He is also accused of the murders of Gene and Janet Twiford, and their daughter, Dana, and setting their home on fire three blocks down the street on the same day.

All of the victims were found with gunshot wounds.

In the filing to obtain a protection order, Welch alleges that Carrie Jones carries a weapon or keeps a weapon nearby and also has a history of violence towards others. He states in his petition that he is “worried about his life.”

Welch states he is living in a safe house or shelter for his own protection and did not identify his current address. He said Carrie Jones made threats against his life when she confronted him Sept. 17 after he removed belongings from his former home at 209 Elm St. in Laurel.

In his petition, Welch said on Oct. 31 he had heard from several others that Mrs. Jones had obtained a firearm and was trying to find him.

At the Dec. 1 hearing, Carrie Jones has the opportunity to show cause why the protection order should not be issued, modified, remain in effect, renewed or vacated. The protection order remains in effect — unless it is dismissed or modified — for up to one year.

The Pallas couple claim that Carrie Jones threatened to kill them Aug. 27 and made a gesture with her hand in the shape of a gun and shooting it at them. On several other occasions, they claim she yelled and threatened them while they are in their own yard.

Sherry Pallas said because of the threats she has trouble sleeping and doesn’t like to leave the residence.

“Since the murders I have not felt safe,” she wrote in her application for protection order.

At the time of his arrest the day after the murders, Jason Jones was found to have extensive burn injuries and was treated at a Lincoln hospital before he was released to the Nebraska Department of Corrections last month. He has appeared through video conferencing for the first hearing on murder and arson charges, among others. The prosecutor in the case alluded to Jones attempting self-harm as part of the crime.

A preliminary hearing in the case has been set for Dec. 7.

According to an application for a search warrant in the murder case, a neighbor told investigators that he had gone outside his home in the early morning hours of Aug. 4 to smoke a cigarette when he witnessed an explosion occur at the Welch-Ebeling home. He ran to the nearby home in an attempt to render aid when he made contact with Carrie Jones at the property. Mrs. Jones allegedly admitted to Laurel Police Chief Ron Lundahl of being at the Welch-Ebeling residence that morning.

According to court documents, Carrie Jones’ cellphone was searched in August. No charges have been filed against her.

It is not known whether Jason Jones was in his residence across the street during the entire aftermath of the crimes and while first responders and investigators were on scene.