The family

Reportedly when Jessi Ashton Jephson, 20, began dating his girlfriend Amanda Orndorff, 19, he got a new family. When they found out he had no where to live, they moved him into the house next door. They also fed him and helped him look for a job.

About a month or two ago, Amanda Orndorff had broken it off with Jephson. Reportedly they were walking down the road when she told him, and he threatened to throw himself in front of a car. Then he did it, he reportedly wasn’t hurt much, but it scared the driver. Mrs. Orndorff set about trying to get him psychological help.

Just after 8 pm Thursday, a relative returned to the home, walked in the door and found Amanda’s almost two year old son Christopher dead. Police were called to the scene and they found Amanda, dead in a bedroom. Outside in a vehicle, they found Amanda’s father Samuel William Orndorff, 60, also dead. Police went next door and found 17 year old Travis.

Police found Jephson’s abandoned pickup truck about 10 miles from the homes. Reportedly they called him on the cell phone and tried to get him to surrender. A short time later he was found hiding under some bushes. Reportedly he was armed with a handgun, but was taken into custody without incident. He was arrested and charged with one count of capital murder and also 1 st degree murder. Reportedly there will be other murder charges and possibly gun related charges added.

I am not clear about the relationship of Travis to the rest of the family. Some articles say he was Amanda’s nephew, some say that he was a boy the family had taken in and treated as one of their own.

The family also reportedly took Jephson in. Did he fear that with the breakup with Amanda that he might lose his relationship with the rest of the family? Or was it that after the breakup, with Amanda so close physically yet so far emotionally? Had she moved on, possibly leaving him with jealousy? With the loss of the family, the reasons why somehow have lost their magnitude.

He said he couldn’t live without her, yet he turned from destroying himself, to not only destroy her, he destroyed the whole family that she came from. The family that went the extra mile to help him.

Travis, a 17 year old popular senior in high school. Christopher, not even two years old yet, a child too young to even know what was happening around him. Samuel Orndorff, the man who helped to take Jephson in and provide him with a home. And Amanda, a young mother, the one he professed he couldn’t live without. A family who had bent over backward to help help him.

This happened in a small town. The kind of town where everybody knows everybody else (or at least knows someone who knows them).  The kind of town where murder is an infrequent occurance, suddenly faced with 4 murders, a whole family almost wiped out. The impact on the school and the community is huge. This was a family of their own, a family who tried to help others.

One member remains. My condolences to Mrs. Orndorff and the remaining members of the family, and friends and neighbors.

Steve Huff at CrimeBlog.US  has a post about the MySpaces on this.



  1. Jessica said,

    October 13, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Jessi deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail. He deserves to live with what he did FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!! The death pentaly will be way to easy for what he did. Instead of the death pentaly the other inmates could beat the hell out of him.

  2. Mehgan said,

    November 10, 2007 at 3:35 am

    Please keep in mind that this is someones son, brother, cousin or friend. No matter what happens, so please keep the comments about beating the hell out of him, in your head.Thanks a bunch. P.S. him hurting people and then people hurting him? i was taught two wrongs dont make a right.

  3. November 10, 2007 at 3:47 am

    You are right Mehgan. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And maybe others would feel that way under ‘normal’ circumstances. But when there are what?, 4 people killed, I wouldn’t call that ‘normal’ circumstances. I would say they were entitled to some anger and the right to express that anger.

  4. November 20, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    I dated Amanda for a few months during the summer of 06. We broke up as friends and talked everyday. I was trying to help her mother get him away when he did this. I loved Amanda as a friend. I am a Christian. I believe the boy should be put to death and made to go to judgement for what he has done.

  5. February 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    WOW, this was/is a terrible tragedy! Jesse was close to some close friends of mine: Shelley Robar and R.J. McDonald. He apparently went to their house directly after the murders and immediately they knew that something was terribly disturbing about Jesse’s behavior, never imagining it could ever be THIS BAD! I never knew Amanda or any of her family but how fair is it that he gets “LIFE” and they got “DEATH”? Two wrongs don’t make a right but there has to be a line drawn somewhere so that we all can receive justice we deserve. Everybody has their opinion about what should have happened to this man, the bible says we shall not kill, he did and as a Christian nation, I believe life behind bars awaiting judgement from God above is the right way even though it may disgust so many of us that Jesse even exists. My heart, my prayers and open arms go out to all that were effected by this! Much love to you all.

  6. brittney said,

    November 18, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    this is still something, i think about everyday. I was a friend of Travis’s. Samuel Orndoff was Travis’s grandfather. Amanda was his aunt, but they were like brother and sister. I will never forget the day i heard the news and they all are in my htoughts everyday. Jessi. thank god, got what he deserved. Death would be too easy for a man like Jessi Jephson. I’m glad he has to think about what he did every day until he dies, thats justice, thinking about little christopher should haunt his dreams. although, putting him to death like my friend was would seem to be appropiate this is for justice and not revenge. rip travis amanda christoper and sammy.

  7. Kelley said,

    November 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Brittney, I’m so terribly sorry for your heartache and the longing of your friends that have gone away unfortunately by the hands of Jessi. I will keep you in my prayers and please know that one day, justice will certainly be served upon him and you will be at ease. If you ever need a friend, I’ll always be here.

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