Ohio man allegedly killed his four victims 'in cold blood', charged with murder

Source: Franklin County Sheriff's Office; West Jefferson police

Jun. 15 2021, Published 4:34 p.m. ET

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A Columbus, Ohio man has been charged with the murder of four people in West Jefferson, Ohio, last month that police described happened "in cold blood."

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John Steckel, 35, faces four counts of murder after four people were killed at an apartment on May 24.

West Jefferson Police Chief Chris Floyd said officers found three victims inside the apartment and another outside after a 911 call came in around 5:30 p.m.

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The victims have been identified as Andrew Thomas Swindall, 45, Shawn A. Wright, 45, Jamie Danielle Lavender, 30, and Leon Billy Daniels, 38.

Floyd told ABC 6 he believes that the crime was a potential robbery, and the suspect and the victims all knew each other.

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"The Village of West Jefferson residents, businesses, provided everything from doorbell cameras to security cameras," Floyd said. This surveillance footage led police to Steckel.

"How can you kill four people in cold blood and think that you were going to get away with it," Shanda Moyer, whose sister Jamie Lavender was one of the victims, told ABC 6.

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Floyd told local news outlets that it’s been nearly a decade since there has been a homicide in West Jefferson, Ohio.

“Things like this don’t happen in a small town,” Floyd said. “It’s tough, it doesn’t happen in a small town like this.”

Steckel has an extensive criminal history and was released from federal prison earlier this year, according to ABC 6. He is currently being held in the Franklin County Jail on an unrelated charge, according to ABC 6.


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