MADISON, Wis. — A southwestern Wisconsin man set his house on fire in hopes of killing his family because his wife was always complaining about money and he wanted a fresh start, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday charging him and his brother with killing his three sons.
Armin Wand III was apparently so desperate to wipe out his family he even tried to toss his 2-year-old daughter back into the blaze after his wife rescued her, the complaint said.
Armin Wand III, 32, and his brother, Jeremy Wand, 18, each face three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of arson with intent to defraud. Jeremy Wand also faces two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and Armin Wand III faces three counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
The fire broke out early Friday morning in the house Sharon Wand rented with her husband, Armin Wand III, their three sons and their daughter in Argyle, a village of about 850 people 45 miles southwest of Madison.
Seven-year-old Allen Wand, 5-year-old Jeffrey Wand and 3-year-old Joseph Wand died in the blaze. Two-year-old Jessica Wand survived and so did Sharon Wand, although the woman remained in critical condition Tuesday at a hospital.
According to the criminal complaint, Armin Wand III and Jeremy Wand started talking about burning down the house on Sept. 4. Armin Wand III told state Department of Justice agents he wanted to collect the life insurance policies on his wife and children, the complaint said.
He said he was tired of his family living from check to check and listening to his wife complaining about wanting more money. He wanted a fresh start, according to the complaint.
Jeremy Wand told agents his brother offered to pay him $300 from the insurance payout if he helped him set the fire, the complaint said.
The two set the blaze in the home's living room and Jeremy Wand locked Allen and Jeffrey in their room, according to the complaint. Sharon Wand escaped with Jessica as Armin Wand III and his brother fled.
When they were outside, Sharon Wand handed Jessica to her husband, who held her up with both hands in front of a broken bedroom window. He was about to put her back inside when a neighbor stopped him, the complaint said.
Both men are expected to make their initial court appearance Wednesday.