A 46-year-old man angry with his grown daughter made good on a social media threat to burn down her central Minnesota home, leading to her death, according to a murder charge filed Thursday.
John S. Newport was charged in Stearns County District Court with second-degree unintentional murder in connection with the killing of Jamey M. Newport early Tuesday night in her mobile home in the 400 block of Minnie Street in Paynesville, according to Police Chief Paul Wegner.
Newport, of Paynesville, appeared in court Thursday and remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. A message was left with his attorney seeking a response to the allegations.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County conducted an autopsy and concluded that Jamey Newport died of “inhalation of products of combustion” and that the manner of her death was a homicide.
Told 911 she was trapped
According to the criminal complaint:
Jamey Newport called 911 about someone dumping gasoline inside her home and her belief that the perpetrator was going to set it on fire. She was heard yelling and saying she’s trapped inside, then the call went dead.
A police officer arrived and was thwarted from entering through the front door by the thick, black smoke. He went to the back door with a fire extinguisher and heard her cries for help coming from inside.
He kicked open the back door and used a fire extinguisher, but the home went up in flames and the officer went in retreat.
The officer encountered John Newport in front of the home screaming at his daughter inside. The father tried to go through the front door and then a window, prompting the officer to restrain him.
Firefighters extinguished the flames, and Jamey Newport was removed from the bathroom. She died soon afterward at the Paynesville hospital.
A fire investigator found a gasoline can just inside the front door, and a lighter was recovered from just outside the home.
The investigation revealed that the father and daughter had been in an argument shortly before the fire. Officers located a Facebook posting in which John Newport said he wanted to burn down the home.
Along with Paynesville police, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, the State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating.
Anyone with information about the fire is urged to contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 320-251-4240.