If even half of this is true, dad ARMIN WAND III is evil incarnate.
Prosecutors: Father in arson case tried to shove daughter back into flaming house
By Larry Sandler of the Journal Sentinel
Sept. 11, 2012
Intent on burning his entire family to death, a southwestern Wisconsin man tried to shove his 2-year-old daughter back into the flames after her pregnant mother had carried her to safety, state prosecutors alleged Tuesday.
The criminal complaint depicts Armin Wand III as a man so desperate to escape his marital and financial problems that he enlisted his brother in a plot to murder his wife and four young children in their sleep by setting fire to their home for the insurance money.
Two of Wand's sons died in a bedroom that had been locked by Wand's brother, Jeremy, and a third boy died while sleeping on a couch that Jeremy Wand had set on fire, on Armin Wand's orders, the complaint charges.
State prosecutors charged Armin Wand, 32, and Jeremy Wand, 18, both of Argyle, each with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count of arson, all as party to a crime. Armin Wand faces a third count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime for allegedly trying to kill his daughter twice.
The early-morning fire Friday claimed the lives of Armin Wand's sons Allen, 7, Jeffrey, 5, and Joseph, 3. His wife, Sharon, 27, and daughter Jessica, 2, escaped. But Sharon Wand remains in critical condition at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, and family members say she has lost the baby she carried for 16 weeks.
According to the complaint filed by Assistant Attorneys General Richard Dufour and Roy Korte, Armin Wand told state Division of Criminal Investigation agents that he was "tired of his family struggling from day to day, living from check to check," and of Sharon Wand's complaints about their lack of money. He also told the agents they were having marital problems and considering divorce.
"Armin indicated that the main reason for why he did this was that he wanted to make a 'fresh start,' " the complaint says.
The complaint says that Armin Wand told agents he was trying to collect on his family's life insurance policy, while Jeremy Wand said his brother told him they were only trying to damage the home to collect on the Wands' renters' insurance policy.
Armin Wand promised to pay his younger brother $300 from the insurance proceeds, the complaint says.
After failing repeatedly to set the carpet on fire, Armin and Jeremy Wand instead set fire to crumpled-up pieces of paper near the television set and computer in the living room, then pushed some of the burning paper under the futon where Sharon Wand was sleeping, the complaint says. Jeremy Wand also used a lighter to set fire to the couch where his 3-year-old nephew Joseph was sleeping, the complaint says.
In his confession, Jeremy Wand told agents he locked the door to the older boys' bedroom to protect them from the flames.
Then Sharon Wand woke up and started to use a blanket to try to put out the flames as Armin and Jeremy Wand ran out the back door, the complaint says.
Jeremy Wand told investigators that he didn't want to leave without taking some of the children with him, but Armin Wand pulled him out. However, Armin Wand told the agents that Jeremy Wand ran out of the house first.
Sharon Wand carried 2-year-old Jessica out of the house, handed the girl to her husband and told Armin Wand that Joseph was on fire inside. Armin Wand then told his wife to move their minivan out of the driveway.
"While Sharon was moving the minivan, Armin Wand took Jessica to the house, held her up with both hands toward a broken bedroom window on the west side of the residence and was going to put Jessica back inside the burning home when a woman arrived and he stopped," the complaint says.
That woman was neighbor Heather Penniston, who was coming to Sharon Wand's aid. After Armin Wand saw Penniston, he first tried to give his daughter back to Sharon Wand, who couldn't hold the girl because her hands were bleeding. Then he tried to put Jessica on the ground, but Penniston picked her up and gave her to a neighbor as he walked away, the complaint says.
The complaint doesn't say why Sharon Wand agreed to move the minivan while her son was burning to death. But as firefighters arrived, she was yelling, "Save my babies!" the complaint says. According to state court records, Armin Wand was convicted of battery, a misdemeanor, in Green County Circuit Court, when he was living in Tomah in 2005, and of disorderly conduct, an Argyle municipal ordinance violation, on Feb. 20 in Lafayette County Circuit Court. He paid fines in both cases, records show.
Jeremy Wand was charged Aug. 6 with illegally entering a building and resisting an officer, both misdemeanors, in Lafayette County Circuit Court. That case is pending.
"The criminal charges arising out of this tragic fire will be addressed through the legal process that starts today with the filing of the criminal complaint," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a news release. "In the meantime, our thoughts should be with Sharon Wand, her 2-year-old daughter and those mourning the deaths of her children."
Armin and Jeremy Wand are to appear Wednesday before Lafayette County Circuit Judge William Johnston in Darlington.
They are being prosecuted by the state Department of Justice because Lafayette County District Attorney Charlotte Doherty is preparing to retire.