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December 19, 2012
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Roseburg police probe link between motel shooter and fatal fire

A man found dead in an east Roseburg house after a house fire Monday was a homicide victim and investigators are looking at a man who allegedly fired 20 to 30 shots at police during a standoff later that day at a Roseburg motel as the main suspect.

Jonathan Lackey, 23, who was apprehended following an exchange of gunfire with police and a four-hour standoff, is the grandson of Richard Casebeer, 71, the man found dead at his home at 437 S.E. Ramp Road, a relative said. Maxine Dow, Casebeer’s sister-in-law, confirmed the relationship between the two men during an interview this morning with The News-Review.

The Roseburg Police Department later tentatively identified Casebeer as the fire victim and disclosed that Casebeer’s death was tied to the shooting and standoff at the Casa Loma Motel at 1107 N.E. Stephens St.

The body was severely burned, making positive identification difficult, said Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch, spokesman for the Roseburg Police Department. Authorities are still working to make a positive identification.

“We’re confident that it was most likely him,” Eichenbusch said.

Eichenbusch would not say whether Casebeer died in the fire or whether he might have been killed first and the fire used to cover the homicide.

“I can’t say what the cause of death was. We are looking at it as a homicide,” he said.

Lackey was arraigned Tuesday afternoon before Douglas County Circuit Judge Julie Zuver. She ordered Lackey held without bail, nullifying the $2.44 million bail set when he was arrested Monday.

Lackey is charged with five counts each of attempted aggravated murder and attempted first-degree assault. He is also charged with unlawful use of a weapon, recklessly endangering another person and second-degree disorderly conduct.

Police went to Lackey’s room at the Casa Loma just after 3 p.m. Monday to question him about Casebeer’s death.

“He had been identified as a person of interest, as someone who may have been involved in or knew what happened,” Eichenbusch said.

At first, Lackey wouldn’t open the door. When he did, he fired a handgun at detectives. After a brief exchange of gunfire, Lackey retreated into the room, then broke out a back window and fired additional rounds outside.

Stephens Street was closed off between Winchester Street and Garden Valley Boulevard. Several nearby businesses were evacuated or placed on lockdown.

After several hours of negotiation, Lackey agreed to give himself up and surrendered without incident.

Lackey, who grew up in Florida, spent about a year in the Roseburg area before leaving about a year ago, Dow said. He returned to Douglas County in September.

“He was a troubled young man,” said Dow, who declined to talk about him further.

Dow said she has not been given any information about Casebeer’s death. Authorities have not contacted her, she said. It’s frustrating wondering what happened, she said.

“No one is telling me anything,” she said.

Dow last saw Richard Casebeer on Sunday, when he came to her home for dinner.

“I cooked his favorite, prime rib and chocolate pie,” she said.

Dow’s sister, Linda Casebeer, 63, died in April 2009, following a long illness. Dow said her family had remained close to Richard Casebeer since her sister’s death. Casebeer came to her home frequently for dinner.

“He was a nice guy. He was with us pretty much every week,” she said.

• You can reach reporter John Sowell at 541-957-4209 or by email at jsowell@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Dec 19, 2012 11:06AM Published Feb 5, 2013 01:37PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.