Independence Man Sentenced for Setting House Fire with Intent to Kill

An Independence man has been sentenced to prison after setting a house fire last year in an attempt to kill his wife and her uncle.

45-year old Shane Heins was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Tuesday in Buchanan County District Court, with a mandatory minimum of 35 years prior to parole eligibility.

In January, a jury found Heins guilty of First Degree Arson and two counts of Attempt to Commit Murder.

The charges stemmed from an incident last March at a home at 711 13th Street Northeast in Independence, where Heins lived with his wife, stepdaughter and his wife’s uncle. An argument between Heins and his wife escalated with Heins breaking several items and overturning furniture. During that time, Heins held a knife to his own throat, telling his wife, “Don’t think that I wouldn’t slit every one of your guys’ throats”.

Heins then started two separate fires in the garage, threw motor oil on the kitchen floor and poured gasonline up a set of stairs. After other residents of the home were able to fully extinguish both garage fires, Heins physically assaulted his stepdaughter before locking her out of the home. While Heins’ wife and her uncle sought refuge in one of the home’s bedrooms, Heins physically assaulted his stepdaughter before locking her out of the home. While Heins’ wife and her uncle sought refuge in one of the home’s bedrooms, Heins set a fire in the living room by the front door, as well as an additional fire to the gas-soaked stairs leading from the garage to the house. Heins left the home through the garage and upon encountering his stepdaughter in front of the house told her, “Good luck trying to get in. You can watch your family rot in hell because that’s where they belong.”

Heins’ wife was able to narrowly escape the fire through a bedroom window while responding law enforcement officers had to rescue her uncle from the home. Both were transferred by air ambulance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Heins was later apprehended and arrested by officers in Oelwein.

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