Photographs by Garland County sheriff's office
Thursday, December 7, 2017
HOT SPRINGS -- A man with a lengthy criminal history was charged with three counts of capital murder Wednesday morning after Hot Springs police found three bodies in a Nevada Street residence Tuesday evening during a welfare check.
Nicholas Matthew Lewondowski, 34, of Hot Springs, was taken into custody at 347 Little Mazarn Road around 7 a.m. Wednesday, Hot Springs police said in a news release.
Lewondowski was being held Wednesday without bail at the Garland County jail and is scheduled to appear Dec. 19 in Garland County District Court. Capital murder is punishable by death or life in prison without parole.
The names, genders and causes of death of the three victims were not released by police Wednesday, and police didn't say whether the homicides occurred Monday or Tuesday. Cpl. Kirk Zaner said Hot Springs police were awaiting positive identification of the victims and notification of next of kin before releasing their names.
According to a probable-cause affidavit released Wednesday, Lewondowski had nailed shut the doors of the Nevada Street residence and contacted a man Tuesday asking him to help dispose of the bodies.
Hot Springs police responded shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday to a Kroger grocery store at 3341 Central Ave. to meet with a caller who said he had information about a multiple homicide, according to the affidavit.
The witness said Lewondowski had visited with him Monday at his residence on Golf Links Road. Lewondowski had three friends with him, the witness told police, and the four of them got into an argument about a member of the group stealing from another member.
The affidavit said the witness knew Lewondowski's three friends only by their first names.
The witness told police Lewondowski became agitated with his friends and they got into a vehicle and drove to what the witness believed was one friend's residence on Nevada Street, the affidavit said.
Lewondowski returned to the witness's residence Tuesday and told the witness he had killed the other three and needed his help, according to the affidavit. The witness went with Lewondowski to 208 Nevada St., where Lewondowski had nailed the doors shut, the affidavit said.
Lewondowski asked the witness to help him move the victims' vehicles to different locations and said that he would need help in disposing of the bodies later and would contact him in a day or so, according to the affidavit. At that point, Lewondowski told the witness he would probably burn down the residence, the affidavit said.
Officers went to 208 Nevada St. on Tuesday and discovered the rear door of the residence standing open. Officers entered and found three dead people lying in pools of blood, the affidavit said. The affidavit did not indicate the manner of death for any of the victims.
Lewondowski's criminal history stretches back more than 15 years and he has been classified as a habitual offender multiple times, according to court records. The most recent filing, June 8, 2017, stems from a first-degree battery charge filed against him Aug. 27, 2016, involving an alleged assault on a fellow inmate while in custody in the Garland County jail.
The battery charge was later withdrawn "for further investigation," but according to the amended information at that time, Lewondowski had more than 14 felony convictions.
Information for this article was contributed by Steven Mross of The Sentinel-Record.
State Desk on 12/07/2017
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