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American English teacher being held incommunicado for role in grisly New Taipei murder

American man being held incommunicado for role in gruesome murder of Canadian English teacher

Jason Hobbie (center). (Photo from Facebook)

Jason Hobbie (center). (Photo from Facebook)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- An American English teacher, the fourth suspect in the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a Canadian English teacher, was ordered by a New Taipei court to be held incommunicado after being arrested yesterday.

The suspect, a 46-year-old English teacher named Jason Eugene Hobbie, was arrested in his sleep yesterday morning (Oct. 18) for allegedly helping fellow suspects, 37-year-old tattoo artist Oren Shlomo Mayer and 30-year-old former marine Ewart Odane Bentto, burn the evidence from the grisly murder of 43-year-old Canadian English teacher Ryan Sanjay Ramgahan.

Based on testimony by Bent, New Taipei police obtained a warrant for Hobbie's arrest and arrived at his home at 8 a.m. yesterday morning. When police entered his home, Hobbie was found to be fast asleep and had a calm demeanor when awoken.

When questioned by police about his role in the murder and alleged burning of evidence, he said that he received a call from Mayer that day asking him, "Do you want to set off fireworks from the riverbank?" reported Liberty Times. Hobbie had ridden his scooter about halfway, when he received a second phone call from Mayer saying, "Our scooter is out of gas, can you please buy some gas for us?"

Hobbie says he then purchased 2 liters of gasoline for about NT$60 before proceeding to the riverbank. He then shot off some fireworks for a while and claims to have left without witnessing the murder, reported Apple Daily.

Police say Hobbie first met Mayer through their work together as English teachers and he was known to frequent Mayer's tattoo shop. Bent told police that Mayer made a tattoo of a bald eagle on Hobbie's right upper back and police were able to confirm this when they arrested him today.

According to a preliminary investigation, police say that Mayer arrived at the scene of the crime at Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei City's Yonghe District at 9 p.m. and left at around 10 p.m. Though Hobbie claims to have not witnessed the murder and dismemberment of the victim, police yesterday at 7:30 p.m. transferred him to the Prosecutor's Office on suspicion of murder.

Today, the New Taipei City District Court said that during a 5-hour interrogation, Hobbie denied involvement in the murder. However, in addition to Bent's testimony, witness accounts, evidence gathered, and surveillance footage, prosecutors suspect he played a major role in the sadistic slaying of Ramgahan, reported Up Media. At 12:15 p.m., the court decided that because Hobbie is accused of a felony which could result in a prison sentence of at least five years, and there is a high probability that he could attempt to flee or conspire with the other suspects or witnesses, it has ordered him to be held incommunicado, reported China Times.

At 2:20 p.m. today, he was officially placed into custody.