Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a phone call reporting sounds of gunshots in Rigby at 1:58 a.m. Tuesday. Upon arrival at at 4364 East 375 North, deputies found 72-year-old Merle Jay Sorenson fatally shot inside a home.
The deputies took 21-year-old Jesse Gentle into custody after finding him at the scene of the crime. Gentle has been charged with first-degree murder. Gentle is being held in the Jefferson County Jail. Both Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies and Idaho State Police are conducting an investigating into the event. An autopsy has been scheduled for Sorenson’s remains.
Law enforcement has notified Sorenson’s family of his death.
“This is an isolated incident and the victim was known to the suspect. There is no danger to the public in the area at this time,” a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office news release said.
First-degree murder is punishable in Idaho with the death penalty or up to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $50,000.