The final findings in the murder/suicide of a Lincoln couple have been released.
Earlier this month, the multi-agency investigation into the deaths of Jimmy and Jeanne Jasa was finalized and concluded that the intentional actions of Jimmy led to the death of Jeanne.
On August 14th, 2017, at 4:33 PM, the Lincoln Police Department and Lincoln Fire and Rescue responded to 5601 S 78th Street on a report of a home explosion. Prior to the arrival of the first responders, bystanders pulled the residents of the home, Jimmy Jasa, and his wife, Jeanne Jasa, from the debris of the destroyed residence.
Jeanne was badly injured and did not make any statements. Jimmy was standing near Jeanne when he was first contacted and did not appear to have sustained as severe of injuries as Jeanne, but both were transported to the hospital. On August 29th, Jeanne died at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital without ever being interviewed by investigators, due to the severity of her injuries. Jimmy died from his injuries on May 2nd, 2018.
During the investigation, authorities learned that Jimmy and Jeanne had been married for 45 years, but they’d been separated for several years prior to the explosion. Jeanne had been living at her mother’s residence, but she would periodically stop by Jimmy’s residence to check on him. On the day of the explosion, Jeanne had been working on a scrapbook and needed to pick up a photo from Jimmy’s residence. Cell phone records revealed that Jeanne texted Jimmy 36 minutes prior to the first 911 call, stating she would be at his residence in about 20 minutes. Fire investigators say that 36 minutes would be adequate time to fill the residence with sufficient natural gas to cause this type of explosion.
Based on investigators’ interviews with family and friends, Jimmy had reportedly been struggling with alcohol abuse, and had been estranged from his adult children. Jeanne reportedly told Jimmy that if he wasn’t going to work on the relationship with their children, she would ask for a divorce. Jimmy told Jeanne that he would never allow a divorce to happen. Handwritten letters were found at the crime scene and are believed to have been written by Jimmy to Jeanne. In the letters, Jimmy wrote extensively about his frustrations concerning their relationship and failed marriage.
A longtime friend and neighbor of Jimmy’s also described him as a recovering alcoholic. The friend believed Jimmy’s alcoholism had worsened recently, and he appeared depressed and possibly suicidal. Investigators also learned that Jimmy’s father and grandfather had both committed suicide.
Black Hill Energy estimated that at the time of the explosion, the Jasa residence had consumed more than four times its average monthly amount of natural gas. However, neither the police department nor Black Hills Energy were ever notified of any gas leaks prior to the explosion. According to fire investigators, in order for that amount of natural gas to fill the entire residence, all ignition sources (specifically, the utility pilot lights) would need to be intentionally extinguished. Fire inspectors concluded that the amount of gas in the residence was the result of intentional tampering and not an accident.
Moreover, The Chief Mechanical Inspector found several problems with the gas lines. The main gas line inside of the home was found de-soldered and snapped off at the regulator. Then, investigators observed that the gas fitting to the water heater was loose, and there were tool marks on the fitting. Finally, this fitting had soot inside and when soot is inside the fitting, that indicates that the fitting was loosened prior to the explosion.
The manner of death for Jeanne and Jimmy Jasa was originally listed as undetermined on their death certificates by the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office. The manner of death was eventually changed to murder for Jeanne and suicide for Jimmy.