3 suspects facing new charges connected to murder of Abilene man

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Three suspects connected to the murder of an Abilene man whose body was found on the side of the road  in August of 2016 are now facing new charges.

Matthew Struble, 24, Euella Cooper, 38, and Michael Pine, 37, were all indicted for Aggravated Kidnapping and Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Kidnapping in Taylor County last week. They, along with a fourth suspect, Olyvia Jackson, 25, are also charged with Capital Murder in Taylor County and Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Jones County.  A fifth suspect, Jody Ordway, is charged with Aggravated Kidnapping. All charges are connected to the death of Ronald "Ronnie" Varner. 

Jackson was released from jail after posting a $100,000 bond, but all four other suspects remain incarcerated with bonds ranging from just over $50,000 to over $350,0000. 

Varner was found deceased on CR 347 in Hawley on August 2, 2016. Court documents say he was shot at least five times.

After Varner's body was identified, detectives contacted a relative who said Varner had been house-sitting at Pine and Cooper's home on the 1500 block of Sycamore Street. The documents say this relative told police Varner called her on August 1, 2016 and stated he had been tied up and beaten but would be let go. He never came home and his relative was unable to find him.

A witness also spoke with detectives and told them she was at the Sycamore Street house a few days before the murder when she saw Varner fighting with Ordway, according to the documents, which say this witness also said Pine was at her house the night before Varner was found deceased looking for ammunition.

The documents say Struble reported seeing Varner tied up and naked on the floor of the Sycamore house and that Cooper told him that Varner had to be killed and that if they turned him loose, everyone would get arrested for kidnapping. Cooper then gave Struble a gun.

Struble also told police that Ordway, Cooper, and Pine all participated in the kidnapping and beating of Varner, the documents state.

Struble says he shot and killed Varner on the side of the road while Jackson was present. Jackson also admitted to firing a shot, according to the documents.

Pine was arrested in 2016 when he allegedly took a firearm to someone to be disposed of, according to the documents, which say that the person he took the gun to told police Pine "claimed to have killed Ronald Varner because Varner was an informer and was 'building a case on Cooper'".

Court documents say "the investigation revealed not only that all five [suspects named in this article] were involved in the kidnapping but also in the murder of Ronald Varner". 

Check back with BigCountryHomepage for the latest information. 


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