Jesse Pawlowski, 20, of Jacksonville, Cherokee County, Texas, United States has been arrested. He was charged with capital murder in connection with the deaths of Jeff Gerla, 47, Ami Hickey, 39, Amanda Bain, 39, and John Clinton, 18.
Gerla was dating Clinton. Bain was dating Hickey, who is Clinton’s mother.
On July 20, 2021, Clinton’s body was found in the driveway at a residence north of New Summerfield, Cherokee County. His mother, Gerla and Bain were found in the back of the land.
Pawlowski and his fellow Jacksonville residents Billy Phillips, 37, and Dylan Welch, 21, allegedly stole clothing, guns and a 2017 Dodge Challenger from the residence that day and fatally shot the four victims. Before the day ended, the three suspects were arrested.
On July 21, 2021, Pawlowski, Phillips and Welch were booked into the Cherokee County Jail in Rusk, Cherokee County on bonds of $1 million each. If convicted, they could face life in jail or the death penalty.
Although the victims were in same-sex relationships, the primary motive appears to be a robbery rather than a hate crime, according to Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson, who believes that the robbery was planned and the murder was spontaneous. He said a 9-millimeter gun was used to shoot Gerla, Hickey, Bain and Clinton.
“Our citizens are definitely safe now that these individuals are off the streets,” Longview News-Journal quoted Dickson as saying. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep them safe.”
This is not the first time Pawlowski was arrested. In October 2019, he was arrested on burglary charges.
In June 2021, Philipps was arrested on charges of failing to comply with sex offender duty to register. He and Pawlowski are friends.
Welch is Pawlowski and Phillips’ associate. Pawlowski was Clinton and Gerla’s acquaintance.
After learning that Clinton and Gerla had several guns, including a handgun that Clinton wanted to sell for $500, Pawlowski introduced Phillips to Clinton and agreed to facilitate the purchase of the gun. According to Pawlowski, he, Phillips and Welch conspired to steal the gun from Clinton.
On the day Clinton was killed, he was supposed to give the handgun he was selling to Philipps. According to Pawlowski, he, Phillips and Welch went to Clinton’s residence that day and it was phillips who shot the four victims.