Youth in arson case makes court appearance

A 16-year-old Monticello High School student charged with arson made his first court appearance in Piatt County Court in Monticello Thursday. The youth is accused of starting a fire in a boys restroom in Monticello's Washington Elementary School on Jan. 31.

The fire prompted the temporary evacuation of students from the school and caused an estimated $25,000 damage, according to school officials. There were no injuries.

In juvenile court Thursday, the youth was appointed a public defender, who will appear with him at a status hearing scheduled for Feb. 28.

Associate Judge Richard L. Broch Jr. told the accused that if convicted, possible sentencing could include court supervision on up to three to 7 years in prison, since arson is a Class 2 felony.

The fire apparently started in the toilet paper dispenser of one of the bathroom stalls, burned the plastic enclosure and a light fixture, and spread soot throughout the room. Soot also spread to some of the duct work, and there was some water damage in the bathroom.


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