Public Safety

Independence man charged with trying to kill wife, her uncle, after trapping them in house he set on fire

Authorities say he locked doors, set rented house on fire

Shane Heins
Shane Heins

INDEPENDENCE — An Independence man accused of setting his rented home on fire last weekend is now charged with trying to kill his wife and her uncle in the blaze.

Shane Allen Heins, 44, was charged Thursday in Buchanan County District Court with two counts of attempted murder and one court of third-offense domestic assault. His bond was set at $1 million.

Heins has been in jail on an arson charge since the March 2 fire.

Investigators allege fires were set around the doors of the home — 711 13th St. NE — to keep people inside from escaping. The doors also were locked, possibly to prevent emergency crews from entering, and a table had been placed in a hallway, according to court records.

Heins was heard asking his wife, Christina Heins, “Do you want to die today?” according to court records.

In addition to allegedly attempting to trap his wife and her uncle, Nick Necker, inside the burning home, Shane Heins is accused of physically assaulting his stepdaughter after telling her to pack a bag and leave the home before the fire started, records state.

Christina Heins and Necker were flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City following the fire and are expected to survive, according to court records.

The stepdaughter left the house before the fire.

A witness reported seeing Shane Heins throwing items and furniture around the home and pouring gasoline around the wooden steps between the house and garage and hurling a container of motor oil from the garage into the kitchen.

He was also seen lighting a piece of paper and threatening to ignite the gasoline.

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Shane Heins was seen closing the garage door and leaving the area, and flames were then seen at the home, according to court records.

Necker attempted to put out a fire in the living room but became trapped inside the house. Christina Heins escaped through a window, and police officers and Buchanan County sheriff’s deputies broke another window, pulling Necker to safety.

The fire was reported at 11:57 p.m.

Shane Heins was arrested at his mother’s home in Oelwein. Court records state he admitted to pouring gasoline and using a lighter to set fires in the garage, the living room and drapes in the front of the home.

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