Heins Guilty of Arson and Double Attempted Murder

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On January 22, 2020, a Buchanan County jury found Shane Allen Heins, 45, of Independence, Iowa, guilty of Arson in the First Degree and two counts of Attempt to Commit Murder.

The charges arose from events at 711 13th Street NE in Independence on March 2, 2019, where Heins resided with his wife, step-daughter, and his wife’s uncle. On that date a verbal disagreement between Heins and his wife escalated with Heins breaking several items and overturning furniture throughout the home. During that time Heins held a knife to his own throat, made a gesture and told 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 gasoline up a set of stairs in the garage to the kitchen doorway. After other residents of the home were able to fully extinguish both garage fires, Heins physically assaulted his step-daughter before locking her out of the residence. 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 on the gasoline soaked stairs leading from the garage to the house. Heins then exited the home through the garage and upon encountering his step-daughter 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 in Iowa City. Heins was later apprehended and arrested by law enforcement officers in Oelwein.

Arson in the First Degree is a Class B Felony and carries up to 25 years in prison. Attempt to Commit Murder is a Class B Felony and carries up to 25 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 17 ½ years prior to parole eligibility.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date. Heins is held without bond pending sentencing.

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See official Buchanan County Attorney's Office Press Release.