A Council Bluffs man originally charged with two felony counts of Attempted Murder and one count of 1st-degree Arson, has instead plead guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree arson in connection with a Nov. 21st, 2013 fire at his home. 21-year old Jacob Rolfe admitted to setting the blaze while his mother and 12-year-old brother still inside the home. According to the Daily NonPareil, Rolfe’s plea Monday in Council Bluffs District Court comes with a deferred judgment and supervised probation. The 21-year-old is currently serving a 60-day sentence for two counts of assault related to the incident, with his release set for mid-March.
In court, Jacob Rolfe’s attorney, Eric Nelson, in asking for the deferred judgement on the arson charge, noted his client had no prior brushes with the law, not even a traffic ticket. Judge Kathleen Kilnoski told Jacob Rolfe he must undergo substance abuse and mental health evaluations as part of a plea deal and must adhere to any recommendations for treatment that come from those evaluations. The judge told Rolfe he must spend a total of 40 hours engaged in a combination of time at work, at school (he attends Iowa Western Community College), or treatment. If the man doesn’t meet the terms of his probation, he will be sent to prison on the arson charge.
Prosecutors say at around 1:20 a.m. on Nov. 21st, Rolfe poured gasoline in the kitchen of his home at 112 Delong Ave., and used a match to set the blaze, all while his 41-year old mother, Jill Rolfe, and 12-year old brother Jordan, were sleeping. Authorities arrived on the scene to find Jacob Rolfe waiting at the curb, where he admitted to causing the fire. Rolfe said he’d used gasoline to set the fire when interviewed on the scene.
Rolfe told investigators he set the fire because he “was mad at his mother for being a bad mom” and “wanted her to know what it felt like to not have anything.” Jon Jacobmeier with the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office said the pair had been arguing because Jill Rolfe wanted her son to get a job. Police reports noted Jacob Rolfe was intoxicated, and Council Bluffs Interim Fire Marshal Curtis McKeon noted Rolfe has a history of medical problems, including mental health issues. Even so, McKeon said Jacob Rolfe appeared to have his faculties while speaking with investigators.