Quadruple murder court case continues, lawyers to request change of venue

Jan. 22, 2024, 4 p.m. ·

A historical marker sign reading "Cedar County" stands in front of a tall brick building, surrounded by snow.
Attorneys for Carrie and Jason Jones, a married couple facing charges connected to an August 2022 crime spree that left four people dead in Laurel, met with prosecutors and the District Judge in the district court of Cedar County on Monday. (Photo by Elizabeth Rembert, Nebraska Public Media News)

Legal proceedings continued Monday in the Cedar County District Court regarding a quadruple murder case.

Husband and wife Carrie and Jason Jones face charges connected to an August 2022 crime spree that left Gene Twiford, Janet Twiford, Dana Twiford and Michele Ebeling shot to death in their homes in the northeast Nebraska town of Laurel.

Jason is charged with ten felony counts, including four first-degree murder charges. Carrie faces three felony counts, including one first-degree murder charge.

A handful of friends and family members connected to the victims attended the hearing in on Monday morning.

Carrie appeared with her defense attorneys, Douglas and Nathan Stratton.

Jason did not appear and intends to waive his right to appear at his next hearing as well, according to his lawyer Todd Lancaster.

The defense attorneys for the couple said they plan to request any potential trials be moved to a different county. That could give the cases better chances for a jury pool that hasn’t already heard about the murders.

Prosecutor Corey O’Brien emphasized that the two cases need to be kept separate and are not consolidated lawsuits. District Judge Bryan Meismer agreed.

“While we’ve got a similar factual situation, I think they’re very different cases,” Meismer said. “My intent would be to keep them as separate as possible.”

Attorneys met with the judge privately following the hearings to discuss the future schedule for the cases, including potential trial dates.

The legal teams will meet again on March 28 when the judge will hear requests from the defense attorneys, including the motion for a change of venue.