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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Former Davenport Man Sentenced to Prison for Arson

DAVENPORT, IA – On January 26, 2017, Gramann Richard Barnes, 44, formerly of Davenport, Iowa, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger to 84 months in prison after pleading guilty to arson, announced United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. Barnes was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, and pay $100 to the Crime Victims’ Fund.


On March 15, 2016, the Davenport Fire and Police Departments were dispatched to a duplex on Locust Street in Davenport. A victim reported earlier in the day, Barnes had assaulted the victim, injured a child, and caused the victim and child to flee the residence. The victim called 911 from a friend’s residence, and later returned to the residence to discover a strong gas odor and heat coming from the kitchen. When the victim entered the kitchen, the oven was glowing, the gas stove burners were on, and all the knobs were removed; inside the oven was a roll of burning paper towels.


The victim located the knobs and turned off the stove and oven. Additionally, the victim observed the inside of the apartment had been trashed with broken dishes, broken household items, and glass shattered throughout the residence. The victim also later discovered a number of jewelry items were missing. The victim left the residence and again called 911. The Davenport Fire and Police Departments arrived and cleared the apartment.


A fire department investigator found a makeshift wick consisting of a paper towel rolled tightly and placed down inside the oven, where the flame for the gas burner was located. Investigators concluded the knobs on the stove were removed and combustible materials consisting of paper towels were intentionally placed in the oven for the purpose of causing ignition, which would have likely resulted in a fire or explosion. The investigation also determined at the time the stove and oven were turned on, two upstairs neighbors were home, heard an argument, the sound of breaking dishes, and detected a gas odor.


When Barnes left the scene at the apartment, he stole a pick-up truck belonging to the victim’s father and fled to Texas. Barnes was arrested in Texas on April 5, 2016. After returning for a court appearance in Iowa, Barnes admitted he had rigged the apartment to explode.


This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Davenport Fire Department, and the Davenport Police Department. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.


Learn more about this release by contacting Rachel J. Scherle at 515-473-9300, or by emailing her at


Violent Crime
Updated January 26, 2017