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Oklahoma landlord allegedly set house ablaze over unpaid rent, killing tenant who rushed back inside to save her dogs

Allen Shaw (L) and Randy Sander (R) appear in mugshots

Allen Shaw, on the left, and Randy Sander, on the right, appear in mugshots after allegedly burning a tenant’s house to the ground and killing her on March 2, 2023 in McCurtain County, Okla. (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation)

Authorities in Oklahoma say a landlord and a friend set a house on fire over unpaid rent, killing Dannette Marie Stowe, 43, who burned to death along with two of her beloved dogs.

Allen Shaw, 89, and Randy Sander, 65, each stand accused of one count of murder in the second degree and arson in the second degree over the incident near Idabel on March 2, according to a press release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Idabel is located roughly an hour west-northwest of Paris, Texas.

The two men allegedly started the fire over allegations of unpaid rent, according to a press release issued by the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office. The dispute appeared on the radar of local law enforcement on Feb. 20 when deputies were called to the residence regarding a “civil dispute,” according to the MCSO.

“The 89 year old property owner was attempting to force the individuals residing in the residence out,” McCurtain County Sherif Kevin Clardy said. “Upon speaking to deputies the owner advised that they haven’t paid rent in over two years and was waiting them out.”

Deputies advised Shaw of the formal eviction process under the law, the MCSO said. Meanwhile, the tenants complained about their landlord’s behavior – alleging that Shaw “had been out there several times.” The tenants were advised to seek an order of protection.

“Neither party at that time has broken any laws and was not subject to arrest, and parties separated,” Clardy said. “Neither [party] did what deputies advised and on March 2nd the property owner returned with help from a friend, and set the structure on fire.”

Stowe, the sheriff said, was outside of the house with her husband at one point in time. But she ran back into the fire to save her dogs.

She and the dogs never made it out.

“When law enforcement and firefighters arrived on scene the structure was fully engulfed in flames,” Clardy said.

Deputies made contact with Stowe’s husband, who told them that Shaw had already driven away, the sheriff said. The landlord was located shortly thereafter at a residence in Idabel by law enforcement.

The deceased woman’s remains were later found inside the burned-out house. Her husband was taken to a nearby hospital.

Stowe’s unbreakable bond with her dogs was noted as her loved ones remembered her and eulogized the loss.

“Dannette loved doing anything that had to do with being in the country or woods and enjoyed fishing and mudding,” her obituary reads. “She cherished her fur babies (her dogs) each and every one.”

In all, three local fire departments were called in to put out the fire, authorities said.

Shaw and Sander are both being detained on $500,000 bond in the McCurtain County Jail.

The OSBI said they are continuing to investigate the case with the help of the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Sooner State medical examiner.

Stowe’s funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, March 11 at the White Family Funeral Chapel.

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