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Feb 4, 2013 7:08 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News

Billings homicide suspect confesses to killing victim

BILLINGS - A Billings man accused of kidnapping and murdering another man last month made his initial court appearance Monday afternoon.

Simon Jacobson, 28, has been charged with three felonies: deliberate homicide, aggravated kidnapping and kidnapping.

Jacobson is accused of robbing, kidnapping and murdering Dejuan Laster, 29, of Illinois.

Jacobson appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court Monday afternoon via video from the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.

During the initial appearance, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito told Judge Larry Herman that Jacobson had an extensive criminal history, dating back to his teenage years. Twito informed the judge that Jacobson was on state and federal probation when Laster's homicide took place. The county attorney requested a $1 million bond. Judge Herman agreed, setting Jacobson's bond at $1 million.

On January 17, Jacobson, along with James Walker, also of Billings, robbed and kidnapped Laster from the Extended Stay America Hotel on Billings' west end. In an effort to gain access to the hotel, the two men impersonated FBI agents and told the desk clerk that they were working on a missing person case. Staffers at the hotel believed the men and even gave them a key to Laster's room.

Laster's body was later found in a culvert northeast of Billings on January 21.

According to court documents released Monday afternoon, Laster's autopsy revealed the he had as many as four gunshot injuries to his body, including several to his face and head. Dr. Thomas Bennett concluded that the likely cause of death were the gunshot wounds to his head. Laster also had several lacerations on his face and fragments of bone pushed into his brain, likely caused by severe blunt force trauma.

After allegedly committing the crime, Jacobson fled Montana to Colorado. He was arrested in Colorado by the U.S. Marshals Task Force on January 21. He was extradited back to Montana on February 1.

While incarcerated in Denver, Jacobson admitted to Billings police detectives that he "shot and killed" Laster.

At the scene of the crime, Billings police detectives recovered a plastic bottle which appeared to have been turned into a homemade suppressor. Jacobson admitted to detectives that he had made a plastic bottle suppressor prior to robbing Laster. He stated that he duct taped the suppressor to his 9 mm handgun, but the suppressor dislodged after the first shot he fired at Laster. His gun also jammed during that time.

After dislodging the gun, Jacobson said he fired at Laster again hitting him in the arm and head.

Jacobson then told police that he left the scene and went to Wal-Mart. He purchased potting soil, bleach and plastic garbage bags. Prior to going to Wal-Mart, Jacobson stopped at a shed alongside the road and stole a shovel.

When he returned to the scene, Jacobson said he thought he could hear Laster groaning so he struck Laster in the head several times with the shovel.

Jacobson dragged Laster's body inside the culvert and poured bleach over the corpse. Jacobson admitted to pouring potting soil over some pooled blood so the crime scene "wouldn't be so obvious."

The defendant then told police that he threw the handgun and shovel into the Yellowstone River.

Prior to murdering Laster, Jacobson told detectives that he stole approximately $8,000 from the victim.

Walker, 33, has been charged with four felonies: aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping and two counts of robbery. He is currently behind bars in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on a $500,000 bond.

The victim, a former Billings resident, was in town visiting family.

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