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Jan 10, 2014 8:10 PM by Q2 News

Billings man gets life plus 50 years for murder, kidnapping and robberies

BILLINGS - A Billings man who kidnapped and killed another man nearly a year ago was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Simon Elliot Jacobson, 29, was sentenced by District Court Judge Gregory Todd at a hearing that lasted nearly four hours and included some unexpected requests from Jacobson. The hearing was held at the Yellowstone County jail for security reasons.

During the hearing, Jacobson attempted to fire his attorneys. After several delays, he agreed to continue with the hearing.

Jacobson previously pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including deliberate homicide for the kidnapping and murder of Dejaun Laster. He also admitted to committing a string of robberies.

Todd also ordered Jacobson to serve a consecutive sentence totalling 50 years for kidnappong and two counts of robbery.

Jacobson gave tearful testimony at the hearing while apologizing to Laster's family members in the courtroom.

"I'd like to give my deepest and sincerest apology for my actions," he said. "Unfortunately, I took Dejuan's life and I can never change that."

Jacobson, along with James Walker, posed as FBI agents to gain access to a hotel room at the Extended Stay America on Southgate Drive on Jan. 17, 2013.

The two men kidnapped Dejuan Laster, 29, and took him to a remote area near Shepherd where Jacobson shot and killed Laster.

Laster was a former Billings resident in town visiting from Illinois.

After the murder, Jacobson fled to Colorado where he was arrested on Jan. 20.

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

Laster's autopsy revealed the he had been shot as many as four times, including in his face and head.

A forensic pathologist, 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.

At the scene of the crime, Billings police 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 clearing the jam, 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 him 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."

Jacobson 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 is awaiting trial, which is scheduled for later this month. He is being held at the Yellowstone County jail on a $1 million bond.

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