17/11: OELWEIN MAN INDICTED FOR COMMITTING THREE ARSONS
Shawn Gant, age 39, from Oelwein, Iowa, has been charged with 3 counts of arson. The charges are contained in an Indictment filed yesterday, November 16, 2011, in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.
The Indictment alleges that, on or about July 5, 2009, Shawn Gant maliciously damaged by means of fire a building in Independence, Iowa. The indictment also alleges that, on or about October 10, 2009, Shawn Gant maliciously damaged by means of fire a building in Fayette, Iowa. Finally, the Indictment alleges that, on or about May 7, 2010, Shawn Gant maliciously damaged by means of fire a building in Oelwein, Iowa. The building in Oelwein was known as the West Charles Mall. The indictment alleges that, with respect to that last fire, injury resulted to a firefighter.
If convicted on all charges, Gant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 17 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 80 years’ imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, $300 in special assessments, and 11 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.
Gant’s first appearance in federal court in Cedar Rapids for an arraignment has not yet been set. Gant is currently serving a 10 year federal sentence for sending a text message threatening to use an explosive to destroy a building, after pleading guilty to the charge on October 4, 2010.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
“We are pleased that the collaborative hard work of the all of the agencies involved has culminated into this result. The permanent impact that this incident had on the face of our community is nothing compared to the everlasting impact it has had on the residents of the West Charles Mall. With this indictment, our community and those directly impacted are one step closer to closure” stated Chief Jeremy Logan. “While this has taken a great deal of time to get to this point, the community can be proud to know that your local police and fire departments were diligently working with Federal Authorities to apprehend the person responsible for this terrible act.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney C.J. Williams and was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Iowa State Fire Marshal Service, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Oelwein Police Department, the Oelwein Fire Department, the Independence Police Department, and the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office.