WEST POINT, Neb. -- An Oakland, Nebraska, man pleaded guilty Friday to his role in the slaying of a rural Rosalie, Nebraska, man whose body was found in his burned house.
Jody Olson, 50, entered his plea in Cuming County District Court to second-degree murder for his role in the March 10, 2017, death of Ernest Warnock. Olson had been scheduled to stand trial Jan. 14.
As part of a plea agreement, Olson agreed to provide testimony at trial and in any pretrial proceeding in the murder case of his son, Derek Olson, who is charged with killing Warnock. If Jody Olson complies with the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend he receive a prison sentence of 40-60 years. Olson's sentencing was scheduled for April 4, after his son's March 11 trial.
Derek Olson, 29, of Oakland, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, accessory to a felony, use of a weapon to commit a felony, first-degree arson, and cruelty to an animal for the death of a dog that died in the fire at Warnock's house.
According to court documents, Jody and Derek Olson were at Warnock's home to retrieve property belonging to Becky Weitzenkamp, who also was present. A fight broke out, and Warnock stabbed Jody Olson in the arm before Derek Olson stabbed Warnock several times in the neck and head and hit him in the head with a ball peen hammer. An autopsy found that Warnock, 64, was dead before his home was set on fire.
Warnock's body was found inside the burned house the next day.
Jody Olson had also been charged with accessory to a felony, use of a weapon to commit a felony and first-degree arson. Those charges will be dismissed, according to terms of his plea agreement.
He is the third person to plead guilty in the case.
Weitzenkamp, 43, of Oakland, was sentenced in October to 18-20 years in prison on one count of accessory to a felony. She pleaded guilty to buying a can of lighter fluid and then driving Derek Olson to Warnock's house to set it on fire.
Jenna Merrill, 32, of Oakland, pleaded guilty last month to one count of accessory to a felony. Her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7.