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Columbus man awaiting trial on murder charges dies at Lincoln prison
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Columbus man awaiting trial on murder charges dies at Lincoln prison


A Columbus man awaiting trial for allegedly shooting his 90-year-old mother to death in October died at a Lincoln prison early Tuesday.

Bryce Kummer, 62, of rural Columbus, was being held at the Diagnostic & Evaluation Center for safekeeping, according to court records.

Bryce Kummer

Bryce Kummer

The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office was called there at 12:22 a.m. Tuesday about the death.

Sheriff Terry Wagner didn't name the inmate but said he had been suffering from a number of health issues. He said the man's death did not appear to be related to COVID-19.

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Later in the day, the Nebraska State Patrol confirmed it was Kummer who died.

Kummer was arrested Oct. 1 after calling 911 to the home of his mother, Esther Kummer, near Monroe, about 15 miles west of Columbus. He allegedly said he had shot two people and was waiting for law enforcement, according to Dane Jensen, an investigator with the Platte County Sheriff's Office.

Kummer was at the end of the driveway, a broken-down, 12-gauge shotgun 15 feet from him, when deputies arrived.

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They found Esther Kummer dead inside. She had been shot twice. An 80-year-old man survived a gunshot to his shoulder.

In an arrest affidavit for Bryce Kummer, Jensen said Kummer had become angry after being served paperwork where his mother was seeking to evict him from the home next to hers. He went into his house, got his double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun, walked to his mother's house and fired a shot through the front window. He then confronted her in the living room and, after a brief argument, shot her.

Jensen alleged that Kummer reloaded and shot the 80-year-old man in the shoulder when he confronted him, then shot his mother a second time.

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Bryce Kummer was charged with second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and was being held on $2 million bond. 

He pleaded not guilty in November and was awaiting trial, set for March 1.

A grand jury will be called to investigate his death since it occurred while he was in custody.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or

On Twitter @LJSpilger


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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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