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Man Charged With Four Counts Of Murder In West Jefferson Shootings

Authorities investigate the shooting deaths of four people in West Jefferson on May 25, 2021.
Adora Namigadde
Authorities investigate the shooting deaths of four people in West Jefferson on May 25, 2021.

A 35-year-old Franklin County man has been charged for the murders of four people last month in West Jefferson.

West Jefferson Police Chief Christopher Floyd announced the suspect, John Paul "JP" Steckel had been charged on Monday in Madison County Municipal Court.

Floyd said Steckel had been in the Franklin County Jail for the last two weeks on a parole violation in Columbus. He remains in Franklin County Jail, where he has asked for an attorney, but should be transferred to Madison County soon, Floyd said. Jail records don't list the name of an attorney.

The police chief credits a wide range of sources for finding the suspect.

"The village of West Jefferson, residents, businesses all came together and provided videos from anything from a doorbell, cameras to security cameras. And when those were put together and the timeline put together positively identified him,” Floyd said.

Floyd said the motive for the shooting was a possible robbery and that Steckel knew the four victims. The victims were Andrew Swindall, 45, of West Jefferson, Shawn Wright, 45, of London, Leon Daniels, 38, of London and Jamie Lavender, 30, of Springfield. Swindall lived in the apartment.

West Jefferson Police were called to the small Jackson Street apartment complex on May 24. They found victims three dead inside and person dead outside of the building.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.