Arlington man indicted, accused of killing woman over drug theft

Posted Saturday, Mar. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

EULESS -- On a hot August night last year, Casey Egbers arrived at the 183 Motel on Texas 10 and began making cellphone calls, mostly to Jacob Damm.

The 26-year-old woman had about 15 minutes' worth of conversations with Damm, asking him for prescription pills and money, according to evidentiary search warrants obtained by the Star-Telegram.

When Damm said no, Egbers asked him to find her a man to have sex with so she could earn money for hydrocodone. When she called the last time, Damm told her that he couldn't find anyone for her.

The calls and text messages between Damm and Egbers stopped on the morning of Aug. 30. A few hours later, Egbers disappeared, according to the warrants. No one in her family had any clues about where she was or what happened to her.

Her remains were found in December in southern Tarrant County.

This week -- about six months after she disappeared -- a Tarrant County grand jury indicted Damm, 26, of Arlington, on one count of murder. He is accused of shooting Egbers, apparently because he was upset that she had stolen 100 prescription pills from him in the days leading up to her disappearance.

Damm is out on $25,000 bail.

"We have just started our investigation into this," said Reagan Wynn of Fort Worth, Damm's attorney. "He's looking forward to his day in court."

Damm's girlfriend, Taylor Nicole Verran, 25, of Fort Worth, was indicted in January on a charge of tampering with evidence.

Authorities believe that Verran helped Damm get rid of evidence in his Arlington home.

Using electronic data

A key in the investigation by Euless police was the tracing of calls and text messages between Damm and Egbers. Detectives also had to use cell-tower transmissions to determine where Egbers' body might have been.

The messages and calls were critical because a missing-persons report for Egbers wasn't filed until Oct. 15 and the freckle-faced Arlington woman had been in Euless just an hour or two.

"Investigators ran into dead ends. Due to Ms. Egbers' lifestyle, this created an enormous amount of work to dig into her life," Euless police Lt. Eric Starnes said. "In the old days, it was following a paper trail. This time, it was electronic data."

Through police officials, Egbers' relatives declined to comment on the case.

The conflict between Damm and Egbers arose when she stole more than 100 prescription pills from him, according to the search warrants.

Egbers was addicted to narcotics and sometimes had sex with men to pay for pills, according to the warrants.

Just days after that first break-in, Verran caught Egbers going through a back window of Damm's home.

Verran called Damm, who was upset about what had happened, according to the warrant. After Egbers had a friend pick her up at Damm's home, she told the friend that she was "very scared" of Damm.

On the night of Aug. 28, Pantego police arrested Egbers on outstanding warrants after a traffic stop. She remained in custody until the afternoon of Aug. 29.

Egbers contacted her father, who was at the 183 Motel, and asked to stay with him. He rented her a separate room for a week.

Damm told investigators that he was visiting a friend in Euless on Aug. 29 when he started receiving calls and messages from Egbers, but he said he did not go to her motel room.

Phone records are key

Egbers went missing the morning of Aug. 30. Her father told police that it wasn't unusual for her to be out of touch for weeks, which is why he didn't report her missing until Oct. 15.

Detective Todd Murphree obtained Egbers' telephone records.

Murphree and Detectives Brian Lord and Mark Harris interviewed dozens of people who may have known what happened to Egbers.

The list was narrowed to Damm, and his phone records were obtained.

The phone records provided these details:

10:36 to 11:53 p.m. Aug. 29: Damm's phone is in Kennedale at Interstate 20 and U.S. 287.

11:53 p.m. Aug. 29: Egbers texts Damm with directions to the Euless motel.

12:23 a.m. Aug. 30: Damm's phone begins moving north on Texas 360 toward Euless.

12:38 a.m. Aug. 30: Damm's phone pings at Texas 10 and Pamela Drive, the area where Egbers was staying at the Euless hotel.

12:58 a.m. Aug. 30: Egbers calls Damm.

1:06 a.m. Aug. 30: Egbers' phone is pinging near Texas 183 and Texas 360.

1:55 to 2:15 a.m. Aug. 30: Egbers and Damm's phones are now near Interstate 20 and U.S. 287 in Kennedale.

2:15 until 11:26 a.m. Aug. 30: No activity.

In a shallow grave

In interviews with police, Damm acknowledged being angry with Egbers for breaking into his home, but he denied seeing her the morning of Aug. 30.

But an acquaintance of Damm's told investigators that he had asked him about the burglary and Egbers. Damm told the acquaintance, "Yeah, she's not going to be around here anymore."

Armed with search warrants, police went to Damm's home in the 2200 block of Ridgeway Street in Arlington and arrested him. Verran was arrested on unrelated charges.

During the search, Verran told investigators that she could lead them to Egbers' body, saying Damm had shot the woman in the head and buried her in a shallow grave, according to the evidentiary search warrants.

Verran took investigators to an area near Interstate 20 and U.S. 287 in Kennedale.

Egbers' body was found in a shallow grave in a secluded wooded area.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.,

817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?