Lincoln house explosion was case of murder-suicide, police say

Lincoln house explosion was case of murder-suicide, police say
World-Herald News Service

A Lincoln house explosion 14 months ago that killed two people has been determined to be a murder-suicide, police said Thursday.

Dozens of homes in the southeast Lincoln neighborhood also were damaged in the explosion on Aug. 14, 2017.

The explosion at 5601 S. 78th St. led to the deaths of residents Jeanne and Jimmy Jasa, both 66. Jeanne Jasa died on Aug. 29, 2017; Jimmy Jasa died on May 2, 2018.

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said Thursday during a press conference that Jimmy Jasa intentionally caused the explosion that killed him and his wife. No further investigative details will be released because of a pending civil claim, the chief said.

Jimmy Jasa was retired from BNSF Railway. Jeanne Jasa was a retired Lincoln Public Schools teacher.

The cause of death was originally listed as undetermined on their death certificates. The Lancaster County Attorney’s Office has changed that to homicide for Jeanne Jasa and to suicide for Jimmy Jasa, Bliemeister said.

“This incident also caused serious damage to numerous properties in that southeast Lincoln neighborhood,” Bliemeister said in a statement. “Building and Safety determined that two homes had to be razed, including the site of the explosion.”

The occupancy of four additional homes was restricted until a complete restoration could be done, Bliemeister said. Residents living in 12 more homes reported damage significant enough to require building permits. At least 16 other residences had damage requiring repairs.

Overall, city inspectors documented a wide range of damage involving a total of 34 homes.

“The complexities of this type of investigation required the assistance of outside experts, as well as time to conduct interviews and process the sizable crime scene for forensic evidence,” Bliemeister said.

On July 25, Bliemeister said, representatives from the Lincoln Police Department, the Bureau of Fire Prevention, Lincoln Building and Safety and the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office met. Members of the criminal investigations unit and fire inspectors led a detailed review of the timeline, forensic evidence and outside expert analysis.

On Sept. 24, the agencies involved conducted a final review of the evidence. The investigation concluded that the intentional actions of Jimmy Jasa led to the death of Jeanne Jasa.

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