A Utah man is suspected of killing a code enforcement officer and torching her car, claiming it was payback for decades of harassment, police said. He also allegedly set fire to his neighbor's house.
Kevin Wayne Billings, 64, from West Valley City, was arrested Thursday in connection with the crimes. He shot Jill Robinson, 52, in the driveway of his house, police said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
“After 40 years of harassment, the bitch got what she deserved,” Billings allegedly said after the slaying, according to a witness who reported the chilling comment to police.
Robinson was apparently doing a routine follow-up visit around 10:20 a.m. on Thursday. Code enforcement officers are unarmed city employees, authorities said. They generally deal with issues like weed control and abandoned vehicles, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Cops arrived and saw that both Robinson's truck and a neighbor's home were ablaze. The neighbor told police he believed Billings targeted him, according to the Tribune. He was in a detached garage and heard “what he thought were gunshots as well as an explosion coming from his basement,” police said.
Two dogs and several animals were in the house during the fire, which gutted the structure. The dogs died and police couldn’t enter the property to search for the other animals because it was structurally unsound, according to the Tribune.
After firefighters extinguished the blaze, police searched Billings' home and found weapons and incendiary materials between his home and his neighbor's, according to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.
They discovered “an assault-style rifle, a handgun, bolt cutters, a propane torch and gas containers,” a police report said.
There was also a “large hole cut in the fence” between the houses.
Billings has a history of household-related citations connected to Robinson. He was charged in 1997 with having too much solid waste, and five other misdemeanor front-yard regulations, according to KSL-TV. The charges were dismissed in 2001.
Steve Buhler, a West Valley City councilman and mayor pro tem, told the newspaper that Robinson “had a great smile, she was very involved in her job and had creative ways of doing her job and interacting with the people of West Valley which she served. And she was a tremendous softball enthusiast.”
Billings was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of aggravated arson, arson and aggravated murder, according to KSL-TV.
[Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office]