Texas man killed and dismembered 3 at motel, police say
For about two months, the man who stayed in Room 113 at the Mid City Inn in Euless, Texas, sat outside reading the Bible and encouraging others to come to church with him, according to a principal. from the motel, Kanti Gandhi.
“He was a Bible fanatic,” Mr. Gandhi said, recalling how the man, Jason Alan Thornburg, once invited a woman who worked at the inn at night to come to his room and study. the Bible with him.
Now, according to police, Mr Thornburg’s apparent fervor may have played a role in five homicides he told detectives he had committed. This week he was charged with capital murder in the murder and dismemberment of three people at the motel, whose remains, police say, were later burned in a dumpster.
In an interview with homicide detectives, Mr. Thornburg “described having a deep knowledge of the Bible and believed he was called upon to make sacrifices,” according to an arrest warrant.
Mr Thornburg, a 41-year-old apprentice electrician, also told detectives that he “sacrificed” his roommate in May by cutting his throat, then unplugging a gas line and lighting a candle in their home in Fort. Worth, according to the arrest warrant. The house exploded minutes after Mr. Thornburg left for work, police said.
Due to the explosion, the medical examiner was unable to determine how the roommate, whose name was redacted in the arrest warrant, died, police said.
Mr Thornburg told police he also “sacrificed” his girlfriend in Arizona. Her name was redacted in the warrant, which said she had been reported missing. He was not charged in these two cases.
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Thornburg had a lawyer. Tarrant County Jail records show he was arrested on Monday and being held on $ 1 million bail.
Mr. Thornburg did not have a significant or violent criminal history, according to Sgt. Joe Loughman of the Fort Worth Police Department. “I really couldn’t get into the psyche of someone who is capable of doing this,” Sergeant Loughman said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Mr Gandhi said he wondered if Mr Thornburg, who had helped him with a faulty air conditioner, could really have committed such horrific crimes. “He was a nice guy,” he said. “He never had a fight.”
The investigation began when firefighters were called into a dumpster fire in Fort Worth on Sept. 22 at 6:17 a.m., police said. After extinguishing the flames, they found the remains of three people inside, police said.
A tattoo on one of the victims helped investigators identify him as David Lueras, 42, police said. Mr. Lueras “had shown up” to the Mid City Inn about five days earlier and had stayed in Mr. Thornburg’s room, police said.
Mr. Thornburg slit his throat and dismembered him, police said. He “believed that David should be sacrificed,” according to the arrest warrant.
The other two victims were women who had come to the motel several days after Mr. Lueras was murdered, police said. Mr Thornburg said he slaughtered one of the women and strangled the other, police said.
The names of the women were not disclosed, police said. Sergeant Loughman said Mr. Thornburg had indicated that “he only knew them by chance”.
Police were able to link the murders to Mr Thornburg when they found surveillance footage that showed a man driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee to the dumpster, then dumping the contents of several containers into it before setting it on fire , according to the arrest warrant. .
Detectives tracked the Jeep to Mr. Thornburg, police said.
Investigators also found surveillance footage from the Mid City Inn on the night of the fire that showed a man carrying large containers from Room 113 in a jeep, police said. He wore a full suit of the kind that is sometimes used when painting or handling hazardous materials.
Mr Ghandi said Mr Thornburg played loud music in his bedroom during the week police said he was killing his victims. “It was so loud, people were disturbed upstairs and next door,” he said. “Mostly church music, probably.”