ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A fifth suspect connected to the murder of an Abilene man whose body was found on the side of the road in August of 2016 has been sentenced to serve 45 years in prison.
Jody Ordway, 32, received his 45-year sentence Wednesday just one day after he was convicted for Aggravated Kidnapping following a brief trial. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Three other suspects, Matthew Struble, 24, Euella Cooper, 38, and Michael Pine, 37, are also charged with Aggravated Kidnapping and Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Taylor County, as well as murder in Jones County.
A 5th suspect, Olyvia Jackson, 25, pleaded guilty to Aggravated Kidnapping in April and was sentenced to serve 50 years in prison.
All charges are connected to the death of Ronald “Ronnie” Varner.
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”.
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