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Arrest affidavit details what led up to quadruple murder in Cherokee County

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:08 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The arrest affidavits for three shooting suspects is painting a better picture of the events that happened just prior to the first quadruple homicide in Cherokee County history.

According to the affidavit, 20-year-old Jesse Pawlowski first met two of the victims − 18-year-old John Clinton and 47-year-old Jeff Gerla − on a dating app and later entered into an intimate relationship with them. Over the course of the relationship, the affidavit says Pawlowski visited Gerla’s residence multiple times and learned there were multiple guns inside.

The affidavit says Pawlowski informed 37-year-old Billy Phillips that Clinton was interested in selling a handgun for $500, but Phillips, according to the affidavit, had no intention of paying for the gun. Rather he, Pawlowski, and 21-year-old Dylan Welch conspired to steal the gun.

The affidavit says on Monday night, Pawlowski texted Phillips to come to the residence and steal the gun. Phillips arrived with Welch a short time later. The four met towards the end of the driveway to make what Clinton believed to be a sale.

Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson says they don’t know for sure who pulled the trigger, but the affidavit says Clinton was shot in the back of the head. Pawlowski, Welch, and Phillips then went to the mobile home, where Jeff Gerla, Ami Hickey, and Amanda Bain were all shot and killed.

According to the affidavit, the three suspects stole more guns and other items from the home. Pawlowski then returned to Clinton’s body and stole the key fob to a Dodge Challenger. He drove off in it before taking the car to a “chop shop” in order for it to be illegally sold later on, the affidavit stated.

Sheriff Brent Dickson says later Tuesday, tips from the public led to welch and Phillips being pulled over and brought in for questioning. Pawlowski was later taken into custody too.

After serving multiple search warrants and finding items stolen from the scene, including the red Challenger, authorities believed they had their suspects in custody.

Tuesday night, all three men were charged with capital murder. Their bonds are set at $1 million each.

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+ 3 arrested in connection with Cherokee County quadruple homicide

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