Fire and Attempted Manslaughter in a Gym


During a night in May, shots are fired in a gym and fire breaks out shortly thereafter. The owner of the gym is shot in his left upper arm, thigh and side. The shots were fired from close range.

He explains to the police that he was assaulted by two men, that he vehemently defended himself and that he was shot at by one of the men. He was then tied up with tie-wraps and left in the building, which was then set on fire by the assailants. He managed to free himself from the tie-wraps with a glass shard from a broken mirror. The fire damage is considerable and due to his injuries the gym owner is temporarily unable to work. The insurance company pays out under this invalidity insurance and makes payments to him in connection with the fire damage.

This is a serious case involving attempted murder/manslaughter and arson. The investigation into the circumstances is therefore continued. A forensic investigation is carried out and this shows that there are traces of his own DNA on the butt of the weapon with which the gym owner was shot. The gym owner claims to have touched the weapon during the struggle. What is unusual is that the DNA of the gym owner is also found on a bullet in the barrel of the weapon. The same DNA traces are found on a lighter behind the gym and the gym owner’s shoes have a fire accelerating agent stuck to them. The investigation also shows that his injuries are superficial and that they were inflicted in a targeted manner. This contradicts his statement that he defended himself. Finally, it appears that the tie-wraps that the gym owner described cutting with mirror glass are not damaged as they would be if they had been cut through by the gym owner in the manner he described.

The assault, the bullet wounds and the fire were staged by the gym owner. He did this because he was in dire financial straits. The gym was moving to a new location the day after the incident, but due to problems with the permit he would have been unable to open the gym at the new location for the time being. The gym owner did not have the financial means to bridge this period and resorted to drastic measures to collect the insurance money.

This had major consequences. The gym owner was sentenced to 24 months in prison for arson, firearm possession and making a false report of arson and attempted murder/manslaughter. The judgment by the civil courts also ordered him to repay the insurance money he had received, which amounted to more than USD 200,000.

[source: Insurance Magazine]

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