A 42-year-old man has been charged with deliberate homicide after he allegedly set a trailer he shared with his father on fire early Saturday, trapping and killing his dad inside.
Jason David Weldele was charged with a single count of felony deliberate homicide on Tuesday afternoon in Flathead County District Court. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
According to court documents, Weldele made several 911 calls during the evening of Friday, Oct. 16 and early hours of Saturday Oct. 17. He initially called at 5:21 p.m. to report that someone entered his home in the 200 block of Forest Hill Village south of Kalispell and installed cameras inside, but that law enforcement should not respond. Weldele lived at the residence with his father, 63-year-old Daniel Gerald Weldele.
More than six hours later, a little before midnight, Jason Weldele again called 911 and reported that a building was on fire, but did not offer an address and abruptly hung up the phone. Law enforcement traced the call to the area near the Weldele home but found no fire and no one inside the trailer.
Finally, at 2:07 a.m. Saturday, authorities again were dispatched to the residence on Forest Hill Village and saw flames coming from inside. A deputy from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office located Jason Weldele outside where he was “acting erratic” and “was not understandable.” Weldele took off on foot when the deputy asked if anyone was inside the trailer before being apprehended.
Once they entered the residence, authorities located the body of Daniel Weldele inside along with evidence that his potential exits had been barricaded by furniture. The elder Weldele is described in court documents as “semi-ambulatory” and “unable to get around on his own or out of the residence without help.” Daniel Weldele’s body has been sent to the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula for an autopsy but preliminary indications are he died of smoke inhalation.
Deputies found a lighter and shard of glass in Jason Weldele’s possession when he was arrested. Flathead County Undersheriff Wayne DuBois said no immediate motive for the fire has been identified but that his office believes the arson was drug-related. Jason Weldele was convicted of criminal possession of dangerous drugs in 2007.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Somers Fire Department, South Kalispell Fire Department and Lakeside Quick Response Unit all responded to the fire. The Flathead County Fire Investigation Team also assisted with the investigation.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.