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Witness information, ‘frangible’ rounds in Burnet County homicides led to suspect

James Luckenbach of Lampasas

An arrest warrant affidavit for James Luckenbach in the double homicides of a Burnet County couple Aug. 30 revealed that the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office recovered pieces of "frangible" projectiles from the victims. This type of bullet is designed to break apart upon striking an object or target.

Burnet County Sheriff’s Office deputies were able to make a quick arrest in the Aug. 30 homicides of a married couple partly due to a friend of the suspect alerting investigators to the man’s “confession.”

The suspect, identified as James Luckenbach, 33, of Lampasas, is being held in the Burnet County Jail charged with murder of multiple persons in the deaths of Amanda and Frank Whittemore. The two were found in their home in the 600 block of Twisted Oak in southern Burnet County. 

The charge of murder of multiple persons is a capital felony punishable by life in prison without parole or the death penalty.  

On Sept. 2, deputies took Luckenbach into custody after a friend of the suspect told investigators Luckenbach had “confessed to him that he had committed the murders,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The person told investigators the suspect had gone to the Whittemore home in the early morning hours of Aug. 30 with a semiautomatic rifle loaded with frangible rounds and a device to collect spent rounds as the firearm ejected them. The suspect allegedly told this person, according to the affidavit, that he shot the couple.

The information regarding the frangible rounds matched up with what the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office reported to investigators following a Sept. 1 autopsy of the victims. According to the affidavit, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy “described the bullet fragments as originating from ‘frangible’ bullets.”

In the affidavit, Burnet County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Saldivar, who filed for the arrest warrant, pointed out “that frangible bullets are a special type of bullet which propels a projectile which is designed to break into many parts once they make contact with their target.”

A Texas Ranger attempted to interview Luckenbach, but the suspect refused to speak without an attorney present. He reportedly denied any involvement in the murder.

“Based on the personal knowledge I have accumulated during the course of this investigation about the crime scene and the information provided to me by (Burnet County) Investigator (Kristin) Davis and (Texas) Ranger (Cody) Mitchell, I believe that the individual possessed specific information about the crime scene that was only known by the investigators and the person who committed the crime,” Saldivar wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit, which was then signed by Burnet County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead.

Luckenbach is being held in the Burnet County Jail without bond.

3 thoughts on “Witness information, ‘frangible’ rounds in Burnet County homicides led to suspect

  1. Does anyone at Daily Tribune ever read our comments? I have never seen any questions answered.

  2. I sure would like to know his motive. What a horrible thing to do.

    1. I would also like to know. That was a viscious murder. No doubt he meant to make sure they were dead.

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