Arson Suspects Arrested, Victims Speak Out

Two years ago their home went up in flames; the fire was ruled arson. This past week, an Omaha couple was arrested and charged in the crime.

"It was just a lot of emotion. Thankful, I guess, thankful that they finally got them, thankful they are going to finally pay for what they did,” Jolynne Gill said.

Gill said she is relieved to learn an Omaha couple is in custody. William and Liz Kautter were picked up on an arrest warrant about two weeks ago for allegedly starting Gill's home on fire December 14, 2010.

Six Gill family members were home when the fire started. They say they remember the evening well and one detail in particular. Gill said numerous phone calls and threats that were being made at the family.

"He proceeded to tell my husband that he was going to put a bullet in his head, he told me he was going to slice my throat and burn down my house and kill us all,” Gill said.

According to the complaint affidavit, completed by the Iowa State Fire Marshall, "The fire was intentionally set by use of gasoline, the gas was likely splashed on the front door and siding of the house."

Court documents revealed investigators were able to track the Kautters from Omaha, to Iowa, the night of the fire through three phone calls. The fist call was made near I-80/HWY 75/I-480 area, the second call was placed in Council Bluffs near south 35th Street and 23rd Avenue. The third, and final call, was made near I-80/I-29 split.

Minutes before the house erupted in flames surveillance video from a gas station in Atlantic, blocks from the Gill’s home, showed a pregnant woman buying $5 worth of gasoline. Police showed that video to family members of Liz Kautter who confirmed it was her.

The affidavit also explained through a witness interview, “William Kautter claimed his mother was killed in a drug overdose by her drug dealer and that he set fire to the man's house to get back at him for her death.”

The Gill's admitted the woman did die in their Council Bluffs home in 2002. "Back then we talked to the police, we had nothing to do with that,” Gill told Channel 6 News.

Thursday night, the family said they're resting a little easier. "We can actually sleep at night and not have to wonder if he's actually going to come back,” Gill said.

William Kautter is charged with six counts of attempted murder, because six members of the Gill family were home at the time of the fire.

Both William and Liz Kautter are scheduled for a bond review on Monday, October 29th. William’s bond has been set at $100,000 and Liz’s was set at $50,000. Paperwork on William was filed Thursday in district court in Atlantic; he is set for arraignment November 9th.


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