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Iowa man sentenced to 50 years in prison after violent night at family home


This news story was published on June 22, 2020.
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INDEPENDENCE, IOWA – An Iowa man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after a violent night at the family home.

Shane Allen Heins, age 45 of Independence, Iowa, was sentenced to 50 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 35 years prior to parole eligibility in the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County on March 10, 2020.

Heins was found guilty by a jury of Arson in the First Degree and two counts of Attempt to Commit Murder following a jury trial on January 22, 2020. Related to the same incident, Heins entered a guilty plea to the charge of Domestic Abuse Assault Second Offense on January 16, 2020.

Arson in the First Degree is a Class B Felony and carries up to 25 years imprisonment. Each count of Attempted Murder is a Class B Felony and carries up to 25 years with a mandatory minimum of 17 ½ years of imprisonment prior to parole eligibility. Domestic Abuse Assault Second Offense is an Aggravated Misdemeanor and carries up to 2 years imprisonment.

Following a contested sentencing hearing, District Court Judge Linda Fangman ordered that the sentence for each count of Attempted Murder run consecutive to one another for a total of 50 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 35 years prior to parole eligibility. The sentences for Arson in the First Degree and Domestic Abuse Assault Second Offense were ordered to run concurrent with the 50 year sentences imposed for the Attempted Murders.

The charges against Heins 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 to 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.

Shane Allen Heins

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