clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utahn invited code officer to home, then killed her, charges state

WEST VALLEY CITY — Kevin Billings knew West Valley code enforcement officer Jill Robinson was coming to his house.

He had called and asked her to come over, according to charging documents filed Tuesday.

Shortly after she arrived, Billings shot and killed her in his driveway, "spilled" gasoline on her and lit her on fire, the charges state.

"I've had all the harassment I can take," Billings allegedly told a neighbor shortly after, with a smirk on his face.

Disturbing new details were released Tuesday in court documents as Kevin Wayne Billings, 64, was formally charged with murdering Jill Lanette Robinson, 52, and then burning down his neighbor’s house, resulting in the deaths of several animals.

Billings is charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder and aggravated arson, first-degree felonies; arson, a second-degree felony; desecration of a dead body and five counts of possession of explosive parts, third-degree felonies; and four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a class A misdemeanor.

On Aug. 9, Robinson arrived at Billings’ house, 4102 W. Wendy Ave. (2925 South), as part of a follow-up investigation. Billings shot her in his driveway, according to charging documents. Robinson’s funeral was held Friday at the Maverik Center.

West Valley police officers fold an American flag during funeral services for code enforcement officer Jill Robinson at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.
West Valley police officers fold an American flag during funeral services for code enforcement officer Jill Robinson at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

West Valley's code enforcement officers look for violations on homeowners' properties, such as cars that are inoperable cluttering a street or that are parked on the lawn, people who try to store solid waste in their yards or people who clutter their yards with items such as couches that belong inside, and landscaping upkeep in general.

If an officer sees a violation, the resident is sent a "courtesy note" telling the homeowner their yard needs to be cleaned up within a few weeks. The next step is to send a "notice of violation" informing the resident that he or she has 10 days to clean up their yard and that an officer would stop by on the 11th day to check on them. After that, if the yard is still not in compliance, the resident can be fined and the case goes to court.

"Billings had received several complaints in the mail regarding the condition of his yard and unregistered vehicles on his property," according to the charging documents.

Billings received a notice of violation on July 24. He was ordered to get his yard into compliance by Aug. 6 and to contact a code enforcement officer for a follow-up inspection, the charges state. Otherwise, he would be fined $50 a day starting Aug. 7.

On Aug. 8, Billings called Robinson, allegedly to set up a meeting with her for Aug. 9 at 10 a.m., according to court documents.

At 10:21 a.m. on Aug. 9, West Valley police were called to a report of a shooting and multiple fires. An autopsy later determined that Robinson died from a single gunshot wound to the head, investigators say.

The first officers to arrive found Robinson's F-150 truck on fire and her body lying in the driveway. They observed burn marks on the lower half of her body consistent with someone pouring something on her and igniting it, the charges state.

West Valley Code Enforcement Officer Jill Robinson checks a home for violations on June 20, 2008.
West Valley code enforcement officer Jill Robinson checks a home for violations in this June 20, 2008 file photo.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

A neighbor reported that after hearing what was presumably a gunshot, he saw Billings retrieve a 5-gallon gas can from his house, "spill" some on Robinson before going to her truck, and then stand over Robinson "as if he was trying to set her on fire," according to charging documents.

Billings also set fire to the adjacent home of Stephanie Sheen and Ryan Luke, 4112 West Wendy Ave., the charges state. Luke told investigators he was working in his home when he "heard an explosion and felt the concussion from the blast," the charges state.

Luke suffered minor smoke inhalation. Investigators believe the fire was started on the back deck and spread to the house. A 5-gallon gas can and a propane torch were recovered from the scene, the charges state.

The home was declared a total loss. Sheen, who is a veterinarian, said the couple lost six dogs and two cats in the fire.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, however, could only charge Billings for four counts of aggravated animal cruelty based on the number of animal remains recovered.

Luke said Billings had recently confronted his wife, claiming she had called code enforcement on him. Investigators later found a "large hole cut meticulously through the chain-link fence" separating Luke and Billings' properties, the charges state. Luke said the hole was not there that morning, according to court records. He did, however, see Billings a few days earlier "clearing the thick vegetation" around that portion of the fence. A pair of bolt cutters were also found near the hole, court records state.

During a subsequent search of Billings' property, investigators found 1,000 yards of detonation cord and more than 400 blasting caps, court records state.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill would not go into further detail Tuesday about the evidence in the case or directly say whether prosecutors believe the killing and fire were premeditated. But he said the he was "very comfortable" with the charges that were filed.

Prosecutors have requested Billings be held without bail.