April 19, 2014

Charges filed in fatal Lafayette County fire

Armin Wand III

Homicide charges have been filed as a result of a fatal fire in Lafayette County. The state Department of Justice says 32-year-old Armin J. Wand III and his brother 18-year-old Jeremy L. Wand have each been charged with multiple counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide and Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide, as well as a single count of Arson with Intent to Defraud.

According to the criminal complaint, the two men are accused of setting the fire in the early morning hours of September 7th while Armin Wand’s family slept in the home in the Village of Argyle. The complaint says the intent was to kill Wand’s wife Sharon, three sons and daughter so he could collect on life insurance policies and make a “fresh start.” The fire on Friday claimed the lives of the boys, although Wand’s wife and young daughter escaped. The wife, who was four months pregnant at the time but has since lost the baby, remains hospitalized with severe burns.

In the complaint released Tuesday, investigators describe how Armin Wand admitted to hatching the plot with his brother earlier in the week because he was tired of his family “struggling day to day, check to check.” Armin indicated he and his wife were also having marital problems and a she had been talking about a divorce.

Jeremy Wand

Investigators say that while Armin’s wife and children slept, the two brothers tried to set fire to the carpet and tossed crumpled sheets of paper around a TV and computer in the living room. Lit pieces of paper were also pushed under the futon where Sharon Wand was sleeping and a lighter was used to set a couch on fire that one of the boys was sleeping on.

The complaint also describes how Armin Wand locked the door to the room where two of his sons were sleeping, and the chaos in the moments after his wife caught fire and started trying to save the children from the rapidly spreading flames. At one point, the complaint states Armin tried to throw his two-year-old daughter back inside the burning house.

Both men are due in court in Lafayette County Wednesday afternoon.