keith kauppi

A Pleasant Prairie man accused of trying to kill his aunt in an arson fire is scheduled to be sentenced in October after reaching a plea deal.

Keith Kauppi, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday to arson, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, obstructing police and criminal damage to property.

Kauppi had originally been charged with attempted homicide for the fire that damaged his family’s home in June 2017.

Kauppi had been a firefighter with the Winthrop Harbor Fire Department.

The state alleged that Kauppi set fire to the living room in his family’s home in an attempt to kill his elderly aunt.

That aunt, a 70-year-old Winthrop Harbor, Ill., woman, had initially been charged with that arson fire, but the charges were dropped after Kauppi confessed to investigators in Illinois that he had earlier set fire to his aunt’s home in Illinois while she slept, hoping to cover up a forgery scheme in which he had been stealing his aunt’s money.

The aunt survived that fire and moved to a rental home while her house underwent repairs. Kauppi then is alleged to have set fire to that house.

When she went to stay with Kauppi’s parents in Pleasant Prairie after the second fire, he set fire to the couch where she was sleeping in that house.

Kauppi was initially charged with attempted first-degree homicide along with arson and other charges. He had been scheduled to go to trial Tuesday on those charges.

The state dropped the attempted homicide charge, leading to the plea agreement.

He faces up to 25 years in prison for the arson charge.

Kauppi still faces prosecution in Illinois for the arson fires there.

He is scheduled to be sentenced for the Pleasant Prairie case Oct. 17.

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