Man charged in shooting deaths of Springfield woman, 3 others in Madison County

Police chief: Motive possibly tied to robbery attempt.

A Columbus man has been charged with murder in the mass shooting of four people, including a Springfield woman, who all were killed in Madison County.

John Paul Steckel, 35, was charged on Monday in the Madison County Municipal Court with four counts of murder, according to West Jefferson Police Chief Chris Floyd.

Steckel was charged in the incident after the bodies of three men and a woman were found after a shooting at a home on a dead-end street in West Jefferson.

He is accused of killing Jamie Danielle Lavender, 30, of Springfield; Andrew Thomas Swindall, 45, of West Jefferson; Shawn A. Wright, 45, and Leon Billy Daniels, 38, both of London.

Floyd said Monday at a press conference that video evidence from residences and businesses throughout West Jefferson helped put together a timeline for investigators and helped connect Steckel, known as “JP,” with the case after his name came up in the early stages of the investigation, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Floyd said Steckel knew the victims, and the motive is possibly connected to a robbery attempt, the Columbus Dispatch stated. Steckel declined to be interviewed by investigators, the chief said.

Officers responded around 5:25 p.m. on May 24 to a home in the 120 block of Jackson Street after receiving a 911 call of a male lying at the back of the residence with a possible gunshot wound, according to police.

Police found one man on the ground just outside the entry door, and the others were found inside the residence in the village of West Jefferson, roughly 15 miles west of downtown Columbus, police said.

The victims all were shot multiple times, Floyd said Monday. He said there is no evidence at this point to lead investigators to believe Steckel was acting with someone else or that anyone else was involved in the homicides, the Columbus Dispatch stated.

The investigation was conducted by the West Jefferson Police Department along with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio BCII, and the Madison County Prosecutor.

Additional charges will be requested in a future grand jury hearing, Floyd said.

Floyd said Madison County Prosecutor Nick Adkins will also make a determination about any potential death penalty specifications in the case, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Ohio law allows for the death penalty to be sought when a case involves multiple victims.

Steckel is in the Franklin County jail and has been there since he was arrested on June 2 for a parole violation of prior convictions out of that county, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

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