HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A man accused of setting his house on fire while his wife and two small children were inside is out on bond and no longer in the custody of the Harris County jail.
A judge initially ordered no bond for Jimmy Klayton Lauder. It was changed on Tuesday to $50,000 for an arson charge and $1,000 for a children endangerment charge. That means Lauder was required to pay $5,100 to be released from jail.
Lauder, 31, was taken into custody after investigators determined he poured gasoline on his home in the 12100 block of Rockharbour Lane and set it on fire around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
Lauder’s wife, Lindsey Lauder, and their kids, ages 2 and 4, were not hurt in the incident, but now that he is out of jail Lindsey fears for her life and is relocating to keep the family safe, according to her aunt.
“With him getting out, they’re going to have to leave. They’re going to relocate. They’re also scared. So here’s it’s Christmas time, he’s out, but my family doesn’t get to spend Christmas together because we’re all so scared and we have to leave town” said Carolyn Zajacluby. “(Lindsey) said (Tuesday) morning, ‘I can’t believe he tried to kill us.' This could be a murder-suicide situation, so that’s my biggest fear. You don’t put someone like that out on the street. We could be planning three funerals right now because of him."
There is a protective order in place that prevents Lauder from coming in contact with his wife and kids.
Lauder didn't appear in probable cause court Monday because prosecutors said he was combative. They still read the charges against him.
"From the upstairs, the complainant (suspect's wife) heard loud noises and screaming coming from the kitchen. The complainant started to smell the odor of gasoline and heard the ignition module on the kitchen stove clicking," said the prosecutor. "The defendant ignited the fire thinking the complainant and children were upstairs inside of the residence."
The Lauders had hosted a party at their house Saturday and Jimmy Lauder became intoxicated, according to Zajacluby. He went to a neighbor’s house to continue drinking, but there was an issue and he returned home.
Lindsey and the kids were asleep downstairs when he got home, Zajacluby said.
According to Zajacluby, Lauder started throwing things around and threatening them so Lindsey took the children upstairs into a room a locked the door. She was on the phone with her mom (Zajacluby’s sister) throughout the incident.
Zajacluby said she received an update about Lauder’s release and believes his parents bailed him out and he is staying with them in Waller.
Lindsey and the kids were also in Waller staying with family, but have since left and are working on relocating to another state, which Zajacluby did not disclose.
Authorities had originally said the fire was contained to the kitchen, but Zajacluby says the entire downstairs was burned.