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Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for deadly Sturgeon Bay bar fire

Posted at 3:34 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 18:47:27-04

DOOR COUNTY (NBC 26) — Anthony Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday for a fire at Butch's Bar in Sturgeon Bay that killed two people.

  • Gonzalez was convicted on two counts of 2nd-degree reckless homicide, five counts of recklessly endangering safety
  • The judge handed down a sentence of 15 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision
  • Two people died in the February 2022, bar fire downtown. Gonzalez claimed it was an accident

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

A judge has sentenced Anthony Gonzalez after he was convicted of starting a bar fire that killed two people in Sturgeon Bay.

In court Friday, Judge Todd Ehlers accused Anthony Gonzalez of lacking remorse and blaming others for the fire.

“There are several aspects of your character in this case, Mr. Gonzalez, which are troubling to me," said Judge Ehlers.

The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision.

Gonzalez was previously convicted of two counts of second-degree reckless homicide and other felonies.

According to court records, Gonzalez said he accidentally started the fire with a butane lighter inside an apartment above Butch’s bar.

Gonzalez told investigators he tried to put it out and warn others. But in court on Friday, he distanced himself as the cause.

"I cannot help but tell you that I do not believe my fire started Butch’s Bar on fire. I don't and that's why it makes it hard for me to accept what I'm getting charged with," said Gonzalez.

Victor Jurss and Gary Heise died in the fire.

The district attorney and two of Jurr's siblings also accused Gonzalez of lacking remorse.

"I think that if I could have seen that he cared even just a little bit it might have been easier. I'm asking you to please hear what I'm saying. My brother never deserved this, and no one did," said Jurr’s sister.

Gonzalez's sister wrote a letter read by the defense, defending his character. Gonzalez also addressed the victim’s families.

"I mean there's no winners here anyway, we look at it. But I do feel for you losing your brother or the kids losing their father, I do feel it," said Gonzalez.

As he walked out of court Gonzalez said he plans to file an appeal.