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Man sentenced for burning woman to death, injuring officers

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 14:03:31-04

COLUMBUS, Kan. — A Baxter Springs man who killed his neighbor and injured two police officers by setting them on fire has been sentenced to life in prison.

Harvey Raymond Ortberg, 53, was sentenced Monday for first-degree murder in the 2017 death of 65-year-old Sharon Horn. He was sentenced to an additional nine years and four months for aggravated battery against the officers. The sentences will run consecutively.

Ortberg pleaded guilty in July, The Joplin Globe reported.

Prosecutors said Ortberg attacked Horn and set her on fire in her Baxter Springs home on Sept. 30, 2017.

Ortberg doused himself and officers Jimmy Hamilton and Justin Butler with gasoline and started the fire. A third officer, Darryl Nadeau, attempted to put out the fire and suffered smoke inhalation.

Horn died the day of the attack. Ortberg was treated for burns to his hands and face.

Hamilton suffered burns to about 30% of his body and was treated at Mercy Hospital Springfield for several months before being discharged.

Butler was treated for second-degree burns. He is credited with saving Hamilton's life.

The three officers were honored in 2020 for their efforts to save Horn's life.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.