‘There’s only two people that know what happened when that fire started’: Defense attorney accuses woman who suffered burns of starting fire
Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2022
The lawyer of the man charged with lighting a woman on fire inside a house on Seventh Street last December argued Tuesday that it was actually the woman inside the house who started the fire in a fit of rage, accidentally spilling some of the chemical mixture on herself that was used to start the blaze.
Tayler Rahm, representing Logan Netzer, 39, of Albert Lea said in his opening statements that Kristin Anderson, who Netzer was having an affair with, became angry after Netzer reportedly called her his wife’s name during intercourse the morning of Dec. 22, 2021.
Rahm alleged in this anger, Anderson shook up a jar of chemicals that were used to ignite the fire and accidentally spilled some on herself in the process. He claimed after starting the fire, the blaze actually started on her own body as well and spread to the rest of the house. The lawyer said after Netzer got out of the house, he actually went back inside and saved Anderson from the fire and pulled her to the nearby garage and helped flag down first responders to the scene.
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The fire took place at 116 Seventh St. SW in Albert Lea, where Anderson had reportedly been staying with an acquaintance of Netzer’s. The house was a total loss.
Rahm said the day before the fire, Anderson and Netzer had gotten into an argument because she didn’t want him to go home, and she had threatened to contact Netzer’s wife. He said his client was in over his head, trying to keep Anderson happy and not lose his marriage, and claimed Anderson lied to police about the incident.
“There’s only two people that know what happened when that fire started,” the lawyer said.
The opening statements came after more than a day of jury selection in the case.
Netzer faces one count of first-degree assault.
Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Abigail Lambert stated Anderson suffered third-degree burns to her hand as well as burns to other portions of her body. She lost the full use of one hand for months and has continued pain and permanent scars.
Lambert alleged Netzer threw a mixture of chemicals, described as a napalm, on Anderson and then started her on fire with a green blowtorch.
Both Anderson and Netzer’s clothing tested positive for ignitable liquid, and Lambert said the fire marshal determined the fire had been intentionally started.
Lambert asked the jury to pay attention to the fear Anderson portrayed toward Netzer at the scene when talking to one of the officers who responded. She said at one point Anderson whispered to the officer, referring to Netzer, that “he lit me on fire.”
Anderson, who was the first of the prosecution’s witnesses in the trial, said she and Netzer had met through a mutual friend about a month and a half prior.
She said the morning of Dec. 22, Netzer came to the house and the two were arguing about something from the day before.
After having sexual relations and Netzer called her the wrong name, they started getting into a verbal argument.
She said she was laying on the couch in the living room when Netzer walked into the kitchen, grabbed a jar of a concoction he had mixed up a few days prior from his bookbag, threw it at her and then took a blowtorch and lit her on fire.
She said Netzer didn’t say anything when he went to get the jar or when he came back but claimed after he had thrown the mixture, he said, “Do you know how many people I’ve killed?”
She said most of the mixture landed on her legs and left side.
After she was started on fire, she said she tried telling him to wipe the fire off her jeans and her hands started on fire. She remembers her jeans getting stuck to her skin, running outside and taking her jeans off and eventually changing into some clothes that were stored in the garage.
Netzer ultimately tried to flag someone down for help, and police and ambulance crews arrived.
She described being in “excruciating pain” on her leg and hands and said she was scared because of what had taken place. She said Netzer did not show any emotion.
Anderson was ultimately airlifted to a burn unit in the Twin Cities.
She said her recovery took many months, she endured a skin graft from her upper leg to her hand and still has to wear compression gloves at night. Her left hand still goes numb at times and she struggles gripping things with the hand.
Anderson admitted to using heroin earlier the day of the incident and said Netzer had used methamphetamine. She said heroin has not affected her ability to remember.
When asked if she was playing with the chemicals, if she shook the jar or ultimately started the fire, Anderson said she did not.
Rahm questioned Anderson’s story, comparing what he described as discrepancies in her statements to police and Lambert during questioning the day of the incident, in January and in late October. He also questioned the timing of when she had taken drugs that day.
Anderson said Netzer had threatened to kill her before over the phone.