Thursday, December 7, 2017
A local man with a lengthy criminal history was charged with three counts of capital murder Wednesday morning after Hot Springs police found the bodies of three of his friends in a Nevada Street residence Tuesday evening during a welfare check.
Nicholas Matthew Lewondowski, 34, had allegedly nailed shut the doors of the residence and contacted a man on Tuesday to help dispose of the bodies. The man, listed as a witness, told police Lewondowski had said he "would probably just burn the residence down," according to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday.
The names, genders and causes of death of the three homicide victims were not released by police on Wednesday, and the affidavit did not specifically state whether the murders occurred on Monday or Tuesday. Hot Springs police Cpl. Kirk Zaner said Wednesday they were still waiting on positive identification of the three victims and notification of next of kin before releasing the names.
The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen PLACE OF ARREST: The residence at 347 Little Mazarn Road where Nicholas Matthew Lewondowski was arrested on thre...
Lewondowski, who lists a Carl Drive address, was taken into custody without incident at 347 Little Mazarn Road at around 7 a.m. Wednesday after detectives learned he was at a residence there, Hot Springs police said in a news release.
Capital murder is punishable by death or life in prison without parole. Lewondowski was being held on zero bond at the Garland County Detention Center and is set to appear Dec. 19 in Garland County District Court.
According to the affidavit, shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday Hot Springs police responded to Kroger, 3341 Central Ave., to meet with a caller who reportedly had information about a multiple homicide.
Officers arrived and spoke to the male witness, who stated that a friend of his, identified as Lewondowski, had been visiting with him at his residence on Golf Links Road on Monday. He said Lewondowski had three friends with him and the four of them got into an argument at one point about one member of the group stealing from another member.
The affidavit said the witness only knew the three friends by their first names.
The witness said Lewondowski got agitated with all three of his friends and they got into a vehicle and drove to what the witness believed was one friend's residence on Nevada Street.
Lewondowski returned to the witness' residence on Tuesday and allegedly told him he had killed the three friends and needed his help. The witness went with Lewondowski to 208 Nevada St., where Lewondowski had nailed the doors shut.
Lewondowski asked the witness to help him move the victims' vehicles to different locations. The only location the witness was able to describe in detail was a parking lot in the 100 block of Cherry Street where Lewondowski had moved a black car.
Lewondowski allegedly told the witness he would need help in disposing of the bodies later and would contact him in a day or so. At that point, he reportedly told the witness he would probably burn down the residence.
Officers responded to 208 Nevada St. around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday for a welfare check based on the witness' statements and discovered a rear door standing open. Officers entered the residence and found three dead people lying in pools of blood inside. The affidavit did not indicate the manner of death for any of the victims.
A neighbor told The Sentinel-Record on Wednesday that he observed "a lot of traffic" associated with the Nevada Street residence but never associated with the residents there. He said he saw a white Chevrolet Suburban pass by the residence multiple times on Monday or Tuesday.
Hot Springs Police Chief Jason Stachey said in a release the work done by the men and women of the police department, Criminal Investigation Division and S.W.A.T. showed "outstanding dedication" in conducting a "very comprehensive investigation."
"Their diligent and outstanding work resulted in the quick identification and arrest of Mr. Lewondowski," the release said.
Local on 12/07/2017
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