Public Safety

Murder trial reset to April for Cedar Rapids man accused of setting fatal apartment fire in 2019

Dallas Tullis will claim insanity

Dallas Tullis
Dallas Tullis

CEDAR RAPIDS — The murder trial for a Cedar Rapids man accused of setting a fatal fire at Hawthorne Hills Apartments in 2019 has been reset to April 20 in Linn County District Court.

Dallas Tullis, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree arson, assault on a peace officer and assault causing bodily injury. He is accused of intentionally setting a fire Feb. 28, 2019, inside his apartment at 2255 C St. SW, according to a criminal complaint.

Steven Craig Balvin died from his injuries in the fire.

Investigators interviewed a number of witnesses who said Tullis was involved in several conflicts with other tenants and management in the weeks preceding the fire, according to the complaint.

Two other tenants and a firefighter were hospitalized for injuries, according to officials. Several others also were injured.

The apartment complex sustained significant fire, heat and smoke damage, which displaced all the residents, police said at the time.

Tullis also is accused of assaulting a Cedar Rapids police officer and a hospital security guard, according to the complaint. He assaulted Officer Scott Syverson and Wade Shelton, a Mercy Medical Center security guard, while being treated for his injuries at the hospital.

He plans to claim insanity at trial. He filed his defense notice following a psychological evaluation conducted in jail by a psychologist who will testify for the defense.

Tullis remains in jail under a $2 million bail pending trial.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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