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Bail set at $5 million for suspect in Laurel quadruple homicide

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An investigator walks into the home Friday where Michele Ebeling’s body was discovered Thursday morning in Laurel, Nebraska.

A timeline of the quadruple murder of Michele Ebeling and Twiford family that rocked the small town of Laurel, Nebraska.

LAUREL, Neb. — The man accused in the killings of four Laurel residents last week had his bail set at $5 million.

Cedar County Judge Douglas Luebe set bail after he found there was probable cause for authorities to arrest Jason Jones, 42, who is accused of killing Gene Twiford, 86, Janet Twiford, 85, Dana Twiford, 55, and Michele Ebeling, 53, last Thursday.

Luebe, in a written court order, said Jones is considered “an extreme danger to public safety.” Jones must post 10% of the bail amount, or $500,000, to be released from custody while the case against him is pending.

He is charged with 10 felonies, including four counts each of first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony and two counts of first-degree arson.

According to an affidavit, a man called 911 about 3:30 a.m. Thursday after he reported hearing an explosion that occurred at 209 Elm St. Laurel Fire and EMS arrived at the home and located a woman, identified as Ebeling, lying inside the back door of the residence. She was pronounced dead at the scene after lifesaving attempts were unsuccessful.

Ebeling appeared to have suffered two gunshot wounds, police said, and a bullet casing was found near her body.

A fire also appeared to have occurred inside the residence after burn marks were observed on the floor, walls and furniture, according to the affidavit. The smell of smoke and gasoline also was present at the time.

Shortly after the first incident was reported, a 911 call was made regarding smoke coming from a residence at 503 Elm.

While discovering soot damage consistent with a fire, first responders also found three people — identified as the Twifords — inside the residence, and all appeared to have gunshot wounds. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Inside Ebeling’s residence, authorities said they located a backpack with several receipts with the last four digits of Jones’ credit card number on them. The receipts indicated that purchases were made for a 6-gallon automatic shut-off gas can, a fuel tank and a camping backpack.

At the Twiford residence, law enforcement located a pistol. The weapon’s serial number was traced and linked to Jones.

After obtaining a warrant for Jones’ arrest, authorities in the early morning hours Friday entered Jones’ home, which is across the street from Ebeling’s residence. Jones was taken into custody and discovered to have serious burn injuries. He was later airlifted to a Lincoln hospital.

Cody Thomas, public relations director for the Nebraska State Patrol, said Jones was still hospitalized Monday morning. An initial court appearance will be scheduled once Jones is discharged from the hospital.

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