3 suspects in Jones County murder of Abilene man indicted on new charges

Ronald Michael Varner, 31

ABILENE, Texas - Three of the suspects in the August 2016 kidnapping and murder of 31-year-old Ronald Michael Varner of Abilene were indicted by a Taylor County grand jury.

According to court records obtained by KTXS, Matthew Thomas Struble, 24, of Albany, Michael Dean Pine, 37, of Abilene, and Euella Louise Cooper, 37, of Abilene were indicted Thursday for aggravated kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping.

Their indictments were sealed until yesterday.




Alexander Ordway, 31, of Abilene, was indicted Thursday on the same charges.

Ordway admitted to being at a house in the 1500 block of Sycamore Street where Varner was held and beaten in August 2016, according to court documents. Varner tried to escape multiple times, but Ordway and Pine chased him.

After Ordway and Pine caught Varner, they brought him back to the house, took off his clothes and tied him up, according to court documents.

Struble said Cooper told him Varner needed to be killed and they couldn't turn him loose because they would be arrested for kidnapping. Cooper then handed Struble a gun, documents show.

Struble also said he and Olyvia Lee Jackson, 25, of Cisco drove out to a "county road in Jones County" where Struble shot Varner multiple times "until he (Varner) fell on the ground." Struble said Jackson then shot Varner in the head.

Varner's body was found lying on CR 347 south of FM 1082 which is southeast of Hawley, west of Lake Fort Phantom and north of Abilene.

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A source told police that Pine attempted to make the gun "disappear," according to court records. The same man told police that Pine claimed Varner was killed because he was an informant and was "building a case on Cooper." The documents didn't say what kind of case was being built.

Struble, Pine, Cooper and Cooper were indicted last week by a Jones County grand jury for conspiracy to commit murder.

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