9-year-old sentenced for Villa Grove arson

TUSCOLA — The younger of two boys who admitted setting a fire that destroyed a century-old building in downtown Villa Grove has been sentenced to probation.

The boy, who is 9, pleaded guilty in Douglas County Circuit Court last Wednesday to arson, admitting that on Aug. 10, he, along with a 14-year-old Villa Grove boy, set a fire inside the building at 10-12 S. Main St. that destroyed that building and damaged structures on either side.

Judge Mike Carroll accepted the negotiated plea.

Assistant State's Attorney Kate Watson said the youth, who is too young to be jailed, was sentenced to two years of probation, ordered to get a psychological evaluation and treatment if needed, and stay away from the older boy. He was also ordered to perform 50 hours of public service.

The 14-year-old pleaded guilty in September to the same charge for 30 days' detention (the maximum allowed), three years of probation and 100 hours of public service.

The spectacular blaze could be seen for miles and took hours to get under control. At least 17 area fire departments assisted Villa Grove firefighters in fighting the fire.

Still to be determined by Carroll is the amount of restitution that the youths will have to pay. A Dec. 14 hearing has been scheduled for that.

Watson said the older boy and his family have moved to Champaign.

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allergic to stupid wrote on November 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm

wow. Where were parents of said 9 year old? Pretty sad you dont hit double digits in age and commit a crime like this.