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Police: Omaha murder suspect captured in West Tennessee again

John Dalton Jr./ Omaha Police Department via AP

OMAHA, Ne. — A man suspected of killing his parents and niece in Nebraska was taken into custody Wednesday in western Tennessee, the same state he fled to after killing his wife two decades ago, authorities said.

John Dalton Jr., 46, was captured by the U.S. Marshals Service without incident on Interstate 40 in Jackson, Tennessee, according to a statement from Omaha police. The shootings were reported Tuesday evening in Omaha, which is about 680 miles northwest of Jackson.

Dalton was wanted on a first-degree murder felony warrant for the shootings of his parents, 70-year-old John Dalton Sr. and 65-year-old Jean Dalton, in their home. His 18-year-old niece, Leonna Dalton-Phillip, was also killed.

“Leonna was stopping by after work to pick up her sister and get a plate of food from her grandmother,” her father, Claude Phillip, told the Omaha World-Herald. “Her car was still running. That’s how fast all this happened.”

He said her younger sister ran to a neighbor’s house around 7:30 p.m., saying: “They shot my family.”

Investigators said the shooting happened Tuesday evening, but they have offered no possible motive.

Court records indicate John Dalton Jr. was charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of his wife, Shannon Dalton, in September 1998. After that shooting, Dalton fled to Tennessee, where he was captured a few days later, according to police.

According to reports, prosecutors made a deal with the suspect in 1999 to keep his three young daughters, ages six, five and three at the time, from having to take the witness stand. He was ultimately sentenced to 20 to 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to manslaughter and other crimes.

He was paroled in 2010 after serving just 11 years.

His criminal record also includes convictions for delivery of cocaine, and leaving the scene of an accident and fleeing to avoid arrest in the early 1990s.