Police: Witness saw West Valley ‘revenge’ killer pour gas on neighbors’ house, victim’s work vehicle

Kevin Wayne Billings. Photos: Salt Lake County; Gephardt Daily

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Aug. 10, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Court documents filed overnight say that accused murderer Kevin Wayne Billings — arrested after the shooting death of a city worker doing her job — was seen by a witness pouring gasoline on his neighbors’ house and the victim’s city truck.

Billings, 64, was formally booked just after midnight on Friday for:

  • Aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Aggravated arson, a first-degree felony
  • Arson with property damages exceeding $5,000

On Thursday, police revealed the name of the shooting victim. She was Jill Robinson, 52, who had worked more than 10 years as a city code compliance officer. Robinson had driven to Billings’ property as part of her job — as she had before to discuss code non-compliance on his property — and was “shot at least one time,” according to the probable cause statement, filed early Friday.

Revenge a possible motive

The statement also says that a witness reported hearing Billings say, “After 40 years of harassment, the bitch got what she deserved.”

A judge has ordered that Billings be held in the Salt Lake County Jail without bail.

West Valley City firefighters were alerted to the fires at 10:20 a.m., and responded to the area of 4102 W. Wendy Ave.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that a vehicle and a house were both consumed with active fires,” the probable cause statement says. “A deceased female (Robinson) was in the driveway of the above residence. She was shot at least one time. The deceased female was a West Valley City compliance officer and had previous dealings with the suspect regarding code enforcement issues at his residence.

Kevin Wayne Billings. Photo: Salt Lake County

“A male, later identified as Kevin Billings, was observed by a witness pouring what they believed to be gasoline around a West Valley City Compliance truck, which he then ignited. Several other witnesses observed Billings in the driveway of his residence at 4102 W Wendy Ave. as the fires burned and the female lay deceased.”

Billings was taken into custody just down the street from the residence.

“Billings is known to the witness who observed him pouring the possible gasoline, and was also positively identified by another witness as the person he saw in the driveway as the fires burned.”

One of the witnesses reported hearing Billings’ statement about “40 years of harassment.”

History of code violations

A search of court records shows he was charged in 1997 with noncompliance issues, with misdemeanor charges listed as:

  • Clear view of an intersection
  • Front yard violation
  • Storage of solid waste
  • Accumulation of solid waste
  • Removal of abandoned and wrecked vehicle
  • Property to be kept clean and secure

All were later dismissed.

Chain of events

Fire and police officials arrived to find the house west of 4102, 4114 W. Wendy Ave., “was fully engulfed when fire personnel arrived,” the statement says. “The
homeowner reported that he heard what he thought were gunshots as well as an ‘explosion’ coming from his basement as it lit on fire. The homeowner was inside of a detached garage on his property at the time the fire started. The homeowner believed that he and his home were targeted by Billings.”

A search warrant was issued, and items were found between the house that burned and the property inhabited by Billings.

“Those items included an assault-style rifle, a handgun, bolt cutters, a propane torch and gas containers. There was a large hole cut in the fence between the homes and the fire at the victim’s home. Arson investigators on scene determined that there was no competent ignition source in the area of origin to indicate an accidental fire was set and believed that the deck in the victim’s backyard was the targeted
area.”

According to a GoFundMe account, homeowners Steph Sheen and Ryan Luke owned six cats and dogs, all of which perished in the blaze. The house was a total loss.

To see the GoFundMe account established for veterinarian Sheen and husband Luke, click here.

Sheen revealed on Friday that Billings had accused the couple of causing him trouble by reporting his lot to city compliance officers, a claim she says is untrue.

The murder victim

Robinson died from the shooting at the scene, according to police reports.

Jill Robinson, West Valley City code enforcement officer, was shot dead on the job on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. Photo courtesy: West Valley City

“It’s a very sad day in West Valley City,” said WVC Councilman Steve Buhler, who is mayor pro tem. “We lost one of our own … She was just out here doing her job today. We are sorry to lose her. It was a tragedy for all involved.”

West Valley City’s government released the following tribute:

“The West Valley City Community is shocked and heartbroken by the death of Code Enforcement Officer Jill Robinson. Jill worked for West Valley City for more than ten years, and was a trusted colleague, a loving aunt, a proud mother, and a doting grandmother. She will forever be remembered for her bright smile, her love of softball, and her creativity in educating and working with West Valley City residents.”

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.

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