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Arson Case Briefs

provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
for more information on this Brief, contact:
ATF, Arson and Explosive Programs Division - (202) 927-7930

605 West Baltimore Street
Willington, IL
April 3, 1996

A. IN: 33117-96-0044 H

B. CASE AGENT: Patrick B. Shaw

C. FIELD DIVISION/OFFICE: Chicago/Chicago Arson Group

D. PHONE: 886-5441


John Flatherty
Assistant State's Attorney
Will County, Illinois


An arson that resulted in approximately $3 million in damages occurred on April 3, 1996, at approximately 10:18 p.m. in Willington, Illinois. Eighteen fire departments responded to the fire scene, where high winds propelled the blaze though the complex. Two tenants of the building--the City of Willington garage and a business known as the Tire Barn--were destroyed. Three other businesses also suffered heavy damage. The fire eventually destroyed a third of the building, and was classified as arson by an ATF certified fire investigator and the Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office.

After a substantial investigation and numerous interviews conducted by the Willington Police Department and ATF, a witness was found who identified three boys who were seen playing just before the fire in the parking lot where the used tires were stacked.

An ATF-trained canine was used in this investigation.


Illinois Revised Statutes

Chapter 38, Section 20-1.1.(a)(1) and (2), Aggravated Arson


1. On April 3, 1996, at approximately 10:18 p.m., the Willington Fire Department received a call of fire at 605 West Baltimore Street, Willington, Illinois. The fire was classified an arson by ATF CFIs and the Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office.

2. During the week following the fire, numerous interviews were conducted that eventually led to the perpetrator.

3. Three juvenile suspects were interviewed, during which, two identified the third as the person who set fire to tires that were stacked outside the business known as the Tire Barn. A tape of the third juvenile admitting to setting the fire was placed into evidence.

4. Based on the admission and interviews, the Will County State's Attorney's Office authorized the juvenile's arrest for aggravated arson.


The only legal issue of concern was if the boy was mentally fit to be tried in court. On May 3, 1996, he was found fit to stand trial.


On June 7, 1996, the defendant was found guilty in Juvenile Domestic Court in the Circuit Court of Will County, Illinois.

On July 10, 1996, Circuit Court Judge Vincent Cerri sentenced the 13-year-old boy to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, to an undetermined period of time or to age 21.

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