Four animals killed in arson fire

A Marshalltown man accused of starting a church ministry building on fire is also charged with killing four animals after destroying a trailer by lighting a mattress on fire.

Van Gentry, 48, started the fire at the trailer, 408 W. High St. #29, mid-day Sunday with intentions to burn down the home, according to a police report.

Gentry admitted to police that he knew three cats and a Jack Russell Terrier dog were inside the trailer when he started the fire.

Gentry also admitted to police that he broke into St. Mary’s Convent building, 12 W. Linn St. and set it on fire early Monday morning.

No injuries were reported, however, it caused significant fire and smoke damage to the building.

Gentry is charged with two counts of second-degree arson, second-degree burglary, both Class C felonies and four counts of animal cruelty.

Gentry made his initial court appearances Monday and Tuesday and is currently being held in the Marshall County Jail on a $10,000 cash-only bond for each case. Gentry has a previous criminal record that includes theft, fraud and domestic abuse.