Jeffrey Austwick, 54, of Highland Park, (inset) was arrested in connection with a double murder that occurred in the 1700 block of Park Avenue West in Highland Park on June 5, 2024, and also resulted in a fire at the residence. | Photo: Craig / Captured News

A judge denied pre-trial release for a man accused of fatally shooting his two brothers before setting his deceased mother’s Highland Park home ablaze and fleeing the state.

Jeffrey Austwick, 54, of Highland Park, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Austwick made his first Lake County court appearance Tuesday morning on the charges, which allege that he murdered his brothers Marc Austwick, 63, of Lake Forest, and John Austwick, 60, of Mundelein, outside their deceased mother’s Highland Park home around 3:50 a.m. on June 5.

Austwick appeared before Lake County Judge Raymond Collins in First Appearance Court after waving extradition from St. Louis last week.

He was arrested in St. Louis and later transported to the Lake County Jail Monday afternoon, court and police records show.

Firefighters battle a house fire in the 1700 block of Park Avenue West in Highland Park early in the morning on June 5, 2024. Two men were discovered murdered outside of the house. | Photo: Max Weingardt

During his initial Lake County court appearance, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Vukovich said a neighbor called 911 to report a fire at the house behind them in the 1700 block of Park Avenue West.

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The call prompted a response from the Highland Park Fire Department to the scene where the house was found completely engulfed in flames.

Firefighters found two bodies clearly deceased lying on the west side of the house approximately 15 feet from the home, Vukovich said.

The two bodies were later identified as brothers John and Marc Austwick.

It was determined one victim had suffered nine gunshot wounds while the other suffered four gunshot wounds.

Police investigate a double murder at the scene of a fully engulfed house fire in the 1700 block of Park Avenue West in Highland Park on June 5, 2024. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Vukovich said police officers had prior knowledge of a dispute between the three brothers over Jeffrey Austwick paying rent to help cover the taxes on the property.

The mother of the three Austwicks owned the home, police said. She had recently died and the home had been listed for sale.

Vukovich said the son of one of the victims told police he and his dad went to the Highland Park address two days before the shooting and the locks had been changed.

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A sergeant with the Lake Forest Police Department reported that Jeffrey Austwick looked upset when he showed up unannounced at an acquaintance’s Lake Forest home after the shooting and that the man admitted to shooting his brothers, Vukovich said.

Vukovich said the car that Jeffrey Austwick was known to drive was spotted in Plainfield after the shooting.

Jeffrey Austwick, 54, Highland Park.

Jeffrey Austwick was arrested days later in St. Louis, authorities said.

The man appeared for a detention hearing Friday afternoon before Lake County Judge Charles Johnson.

Lake County Assistant Public Defender Molly Leimback, who is representing Austwick, told the judge at the beginning of the hearing that Austwick was waiving his right to a detention hearing.

The detention hearing, which only lasted two minutes, did not proceed further based on that decision.

Johnson then signed a court order detaining Austwick pending trial after confirming with the defendant that he wished to waive the detention hearing.

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Austwick is scheduled to appear in court again on July 10 for a preliminary hearing.

Police investigate a double murder at the scene of a fully engulfed house fire in the 1700 block of Park Avenue West in Highland Park on June 5, 2024. | Photo: Craig / Captured News

In the immediate days after the June 5 shooting, the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force said a preliminary investigation showed brothers Marc and John Austwick went to the house to discuss the property with their brother, Jeffrey.

After the two brothers arrived at the house, Jeffrey Austwick shot his brothers and then set the house on fire, the task force said.

After Jeffrey Austwick fled the area, investigators obtained a nationwide arrest warrant for him.

He was taken into custody by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police after he was spotted hiding in bushes at Walnut and 7th streets near the St. Louis Arch. Austwick was armed with a gun, police said.