At the funeral of Mark Jewell in May, Jason Thornburg told a small crowd at Hope Works church in Fort Worth how his roommate was a “good friend” and the two of them constantly studied the Bible.
Scott Black of Fort Worth heard Thornburg speak about Jewell and later offered Thornburg condolences on the death of his friend and their Fort Worth home burning to the ground.
In the days after the funeral, Black, a life coach and inspirational speaker, even prepared meals for Thornburg, offered his friendship and allowed him to attend one of Black’s leadership training sessions at a Dallas-Fort Worth hotel with eight other people, Black told the Star-Telegram in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Fort Worth police said that, on Monday, Thornburg confessed to slicing Jewell’s throat as a sacrifice and then uncapping a natural gas line before he lit a candle, igniting their home in the 4500 block of Valentine Street, according to a warrant.
Thornburg also confessed to “sacrificing” three other people earlier this month, dismembering their bodies at a Euless motel and then leaving the remains in a Fort Worth dumpster which he set on fire, the warrant states.
Thornburg was arrested late Monday at the Euless motel where authorities said he killed the three people at separate times this month.
“I told him there was a reason he wasn’t there that day. I prayed with him,” Black said Wednesday. referring to the day in May when Thornburg and Jewell’s Fort Worth home burned down. “I feel like an idiot.”
Black remained in shock on Wednesday after finding out that the man he had befriended was accused of being a serial killer in Fort Worth and Arizona.
Along with the four killings in Fort Worth, Thornburg confessed to sacrificing his girlfriend in Arizona, police said. Relatives said that girlfriend was Tanya Begay of Gallup, New Mexico, who went missing in 2017. Her body has not been found.
“How can a man kill people and then chop them up?” Black said. “I noticed the darkness he had, but he was fighting it.”
Thornburg described himself to Fort Worth detectives as having in-depth knowledge of the Bible. He believed he was being called to commit sacrifices, according to his arrest warrant released by Fort Worth police on Tuesday.
After befriending him, Black said, he even thought about asking Thornburg to live with him and his family.
“My wife was the one who said she would not feel comfortable with him living with us for some time,” Black said. “I wonder now that my family could have ended up sacrificed by him.”
On several occasions, Black said Thornburg asked him to go street preaching with him in Fort Worth. Black said he knew that Thornburg would stand on a street corner with a microphone and preach.
Residents of the Mid City Inn in Euless, where police say three of the murders happened, told reporters Thornburg would hand out church fliers and invite people to his room.
Black said Thornburg’s act was fake.
“The devil knows the Bible,” Black said Wednesday. “He was just pure evil.”