County Attorney

After three days of testimony, Ishmael Carter, 34, was convicted of one count of arson in the first degree, five counts of attempted murder, and up to 25 years in prison on each count, after an event that took place in June 2021.

On June 13, 2021, Carter went to the residence of a former intimate partner. After the partner refused to answer the door, Carter poured lighter fluid under the door of the residence and then ignited the lighter fluid, which caused a fire that trapped five people in the residence. All five individuals were able to exit the residence without physical injury.

During the trial, investigators from the City of Iowa City Fire Department (ICFD) and the City of Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) testified, as well as the adult victims who were in the residence at the time of the event.

According to a firefighter who testified, the fire was significant enough that it could not have been extinguished without ICFD intervention. The firefighter also said that the fire created enough smoke to quickly injure or kill any person who was in the residence at the time of the event. The firefighter said the fire was deliberately set and used enough lighter fluid to overcome the flame-resistant properties of the building materials.

ICPD investigators testified that they found video of Carter at L&M Mighty Shop, 504 East Burlington St., Iowa City, asking the L&M employee where he could find lighter fluid for purchase. After Carter purchased the lighter fluid, he then opened the container with his teeth as he walked away from the convenience store.

Sentencing will take place on Friday, April 14, 2023.