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I'm not stupid. They know I did it - Jarod Lane on the homicide of Jessica Scholl

Liam Gault, 17,  who once attended Lindbergh High School with Jessica Scholl and now lives in California, flew back to Washington Saturday to visit his good friend’s home and reflect for a few  moments on the memorial in front of her house Wednesday. - Tracey Compton/Renton Reporter
Liam Gault, 17, who once attended Lindbergh High School with Jessica Scholl and now lives in California, flew back to Washington Saturday to visit his good friend’s home and reflect for a few moments on the memorial in front of her house Wednesday.
— image credit: Tracey Compton/Renton Reporter

Jarod Lane wanted to see Jessica Scholl just one last time the morning of May 25, promising he would then leave her alone.

They had broken up about a week earlier after a two-year relationship. Upset, Lane talked with a friend about killing himself.

Now it was about 6:30 a.m. on a clear Friday morning. Lane was standing on the front porch of Jessica’s two-story home; she was inside with the front door open.

Her parents, Stephanie and Douglas Scholl, had already left for work, so she was home alone with the family’s pet dog.

A visitor at a house across Southeast 164th Street out for a smoke heard them in a serious argument. At about 6:40 a.m. a Lindbergh student walked by and saw Jessica and Lane yelling at each other. He knows them both.

At about 7:15 a.m., the visitor across the street saw the same young man walking away from the house, eastbound on Southeast 164th Street. She later gave investigators a description that fit Lane.

About a half-hour later, Renton firefighters responded to smoke coming from the Scholl home. They found Jessica inside, dead; an autopsy revealed she died before the fire was started in a couch.

Tuesday, Lane, who graduated from Lindbergh High School last year, was charged with first-degree murder in Jessica’s death and first-degree arson for setting fire to her family’s home.

He’s now in custody in an Oklahoma jail on $2 million bail, after fleeing about 2,000 miles in an escape he had hoped would take him to Mexico. He’s likely to return early next week to face the charges, after waiving extradition.

Prosecutors have set a hearing for the morning of June 11 at the regional justice center in Kent.

In asking for $2 million bail, prosecutors wrote that Lane is an “extreme danger” to the community.

“The defendant’s attack reflects an individual with no ability to control his anger and a willingness to express that anger through extreme violence upon others,” prosecutors wrote.

Lane also is “an extreme flight risk,” they wrote.

Two Renton Police detectives interviewed Lane in Oklahoma City this week, reporting that he was cooperative.

Renton Police investigators and prosecutors outlined their evidence against Lane in court documents Tuesday.

Jessica’s death left her parents distraught and fellow students in tears at Lindbergh, where she was a junior. Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil for Jessica last Sunday night.

“It is just so close to home; my kids and their friends all knew her,” said a mother of two Lindbergh students in an e-mail. “We are all just so relieved to hear that he is no longer on the streets, and the kids don’t have to wonder about where he may show up.”

A memorial of flowers, drawings and photos lines the front of Jessica’s house.

Wednesday morning, 17-year-old Liam Gault slowly paced the lawn of Scholl’s house, stopping to look at the candles, flowers and balloons people left to pay tribute to Jessica. He sat down on the grass.

Gault, a former Lindbergh student, took a flight from California to Seattle Saturday, after he learned about Jessica’s death from friends via text message on Friday.

Gault says he was a close friend of Jessica and came to pay his respects.

He attended Lindbergh last year with Scholl but moved to Anaheim Hills, Calif.

“I’m mostly just shocked and mad, but I’m glad that he’s (Jarod Lane) put away,” Gault said.

Jessica’s family has asked for its privacy, communicating with the public in statements issued through the Renton Police Department.

After Lane’s arrest, the Scholl family thanked the Renton police and other agencies for “their diligence” in searching for Lane. They also thanked two TV newsmen in Oklahoma who recognized Lane and called police on Monday.

The family also reflected on Jessica’s relationship with Lane.

“We would like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of healthy relationships and encourage everyone to report known or suspected teen or domestic violence,” they wrote.

Tragedy has struck the Lindbergh community before, under similar circumstances.

Kathy Chou, a Lindbergh senior, disappeared after leaving her parents’ home on April 18, 2010. An investigation was done and searches made; but her remains weren’t found until July 2011, in a shallow grave near Boulevard Park.

Her former boyfriend, Ezekiel James Watkins of Kent, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges last August. He remains in the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on $1 million bail.

The Lindbergh mom wrote that Jessica’s death has left Lindbergh students bewildered.

“All of the kids are having a hard time understanding why this continues to happen,” she wrote. “It is all so very sad.”

Jarod Lane has no criminal convictions, including for domestic violence, according to charging documents and Renton Police Detective Robert Onishi, a department spokesman.

But, Onishi said, a dating relationship has “a certain emotional weight to it,” much different than a relationship between strangers.

“There is a possibility that things can go completely out of control,” he said.

Lane had told a friend he bought a gold necklace with a flower motif and a diamond to give to Jessica.

On Saturday Lane called his mother on the way to Mexico. He told her he just snapped.

The charging documents give a gruesome picture of what happened inside the Scholl home on May 25. Renton fire crews responded to a fire at the Scholl home at 7:54 a.m.

Inside the house, firefighters found the couch on fire and Jessica on the kitchen floor, with multiple stab wounds and other injuries. They attempted CPR, but she had died. Police were called.

Blood was found in the kitchen, bathroom and Jessica’s bedroom. A kitchen knife with its blade broken off was found near Jessica. A dented frying pan with its handle broken off was on the floor. A fireplace tool was on the counter.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday ruled she died of multiple stab wounds, blunt force strikes and possible strangulation. Her death was ruled a homicide.

While fire crews were fighting the fire and investigating Jessica’s homicide, Lane was calling friends and family to say goodbye.

At about 8 a.m. Lane called a friend in Yuma, Ariz. He told the friend, “I killed her.” The friend knew whom he meant, even though Lane didn’t name Jessica.

The friend told investigators Lane didn’t seem upset, but he was calling to say goodbye and told the friend he was headed for Mexico.

At 8:08 a.m. Lane’s mother called 911; her son had called her at work on his cell phone. Lane told her, “I love you. I’ve done something I’m not proud of. I have to run away.”

At about 8:25 a.m., Lane’s father called him. Lane told him he loved him, but he had to go.

Lane’s parents last saw him at about 6 p.m. on May 24, when they left to go shopping.

At 8:29 a.m., Lane purchased gas at the Union 76 station in North Bend, then headed east on Interstate 90 in his 2001 Mazda Protege. He threw away his cell phone.

He had $1,000 in cash he had saved from his job at an air-conditioning company in Tukwila and $300 he stole from Jessica’s parents.

Lane called his mother again, on Saturday, May 26. He had driven through Colorado and St. Louis and had stolen a Colorado license plate. He told his mom he went to Jessica’s house Friday because it was a late-start day. He knew her parents would be gone.

He just wanted to talk to Jessica, he told his mother.

On Monday, May 28, Memorial Day, his Protege was found near Guthrie, Okla. He was arrested after two TV newsmen recognized him from media reports walking down the street.

Monday Lane also was communicating with a good friend on Facebook; Lane has an iPad. The friend tried to convince him to call Renton police, because he was just a person of interest.

Lane replied to his friend on Facebook:

“I’m not stupid. They know I did it.”

Tracey Compton contributed to this report.

 

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