Local Man in Custody for Murder Indicted for Separate Murder, Arson

Jason Alan Thornburg
Photo of Jason Alan Thornburg. | Image by Fort Worth Police Department

A Tarrant County grand jury returned an indictment on February 18 against Jason Alan Thornburg, 41, for the murder of his roommate, Mark Jewell, 61, in Fort Worth.

According to a press release issued by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney, Thornburg will face a first-degree felony charge for murder and an additional first-degree charge for arson. Thornburg is alleged to have killed Jewell and then burned down their home.

Thornburg is currently incarcerated after he admitted to three other killings in the Fort Worth area in September 2021. Over several days, Thornburg lured three people into a Euless hotel room, slit their throats, and then dismembered the bodies in the bathtub. Through surveillance footage, Thornburg was identified by investigators dumping the remains in a dumpster 25 miles from the hotel and setting it on fire.

He was apprehended in Arlington and confessed to the three killings during interviews with law enforcement. According to police, Thornburg told them the individuals were killed as “sacrifices.”

When police asked Thornburg if he had committed other killings, he admitted to both the killing of Jewell in May and the killing of his then-girlfriend in Arizona in 2017.

Arizona police were called to the home Thornburg shared with his girlfriend Tanya Begay on February 18, 2017, by neighbors who reported a domestic disturbance. Police found Begay with a bloodied face and glass embedded in her right eye. She reported that Thornburg had thrown an empty glass coffee pot that struck her in the face. Thornburg had left the scene and was not arrested until March 2017.

Two days after his arrest, Begay was reported missing by her mother. Law enforcement handed the case off to Tribal Police, as Begay and Thornburg lived on tribal land. Begay’s mother told investigators that her daughter and Thornburg had an abusive relationship.

Neighbors told police they had seen Thornburg burning items on his property days before Begay was reported missing. Her remains have never been found.

Because law enforcement never found Begay’s remains, Thornburg was never charged with any crime. By 2021, Thornburg was living in Fort Worth and was working as an electrician’s apprentice.

According to a police affidavit in the case, Thornburg told investigators that he was compelled to kill his roommate by God. He used a straight razor to slit the man’s throat, then uncapped a gas line and lit a candle to destroy the evidence.

Thornburg was considered a suspect in the incident, but investigators were forced to conclude that the manner of death was unknown due to the damage done by the gas explosion and resulting fire. It wasn’t until Thornburg confessed to the killing that police could produce evidence.

Thornburg will face penalties ranging from 5 to 99 years, or life, in prison, if convicted. He is currently awaiting trial for the initial three killings. It is not clear if authorities in Arizona or through the Navajo Nation will request his extradition to face charges of murder in the disappearance of Begay.

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