Owners of Bird Island Home Destroyed by Fire Facing Charges 26 Apr 18

(West Central Tribune/Olivia, MN) The owners of a Bird Island home destroyed by fire in January have now been charged in connection with the fire.

The West Central Tribune reports 34-year-old Jeffrey George Ackerson Jr. is facing felony charges of arson, insurance fraud and cruelty to animals, while his wife, 36-year-old Sheena Marie Ackerson, has been charged with one felony count of aiding and abetting insurance fraud.

The home was deemed a complete loss and the family dog was killed in the fire on Jan. 15.

According to court documents, the couple received two checks from American Family Insurance for $5,000 each, along with temporary housing in Hector, paid for by the insurance company. The couple both endorsed and deposited the checks, documents said.

In a recorded statement to law enforcement on Feb. 8, Jeffrey Ackerson Jr. said he was frustrated with the progress of remodeling the house, along with the family bills. When his wife and children had left the house Jan. 15, he said he went into the garage/workshop area of the home, lit a cigarette using a hand torch and then threw the hand torch down, still in the “on” position, which he said caused the fire.