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Gun violence in the US

Police say Utah man killed city worker over yard rule ‘harassment’

Suspect also reportedly burned down neighbour’s home, killing six dogs and two cats

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 4:23am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 4:23am

A Utah man who reportedly shot and killed a city worker, torched her truck and set his neighbour’s house on fire told witnesses that he did it after “years of harassment” over cleaning up trash and weeds outside his home, the police said on Friday.

Kevin Wayne Billings, 64, said the code enforcement officer in suburban Salt Lake City “got what she deserved,” the police said in jail documents. Jill Robinson was investigating a routine call, officials said.

Billings poured petrol on Robinson’s city pickup truck, then set it ablaze on Thursday, the police said. He also started a fire on his neighbour’s deck that spread to their home and destroyed it, killing six dogs and two cats.

As the fires burned, he stood in his driveway, near the body, witnesses told police.

Billings was arrested down the street from his house on suspicion of aggravated arson, murder and other charges. No lawyer was listed for him in court records, and there was no answer at a publicly listed phone number.

The police say they found an assault-style rifle, a handgun, bolt cutters, a propane torch and gas containers in Billings’ house.

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Robinson, 52, was an unarmed, civilian worker who typically dealt with complaints about unkempt gardens or abandoned cars, West Valley City officials said. Code enforcement officers are trained to leave and call police if people get hostile.

Robinson was remembered as a mother, grandmother and dedicated employee who loved softball. She had worked for the city for 10 years.

“She was just out here doing her job today,” West Valley City Councilman Steve Buhler told the Deseret News.

Court records show a history of code enforcement charges at Billings’ home dating back 26 years.

After several months of prodding by the city, he pleaded guilty in 1992 to misdemeanour weed-control and bulky waste-accumulation charges and agreed to clean up his house.

Five years later, a judge signed an order allowing the city to clean up waste they said was obstructing the view of the street.