Reaction in Danville: 'I'm in shock'

Reaction in Danville: 'I'm in shock'

UPDATE, 11:10 a.m.: Suspect named

DANVILLE — The Vermilion County coroner has confirmed that the man found dead in his home Wednesday morning by firefighters responding to a fire call is local business owner Jay Hein.

Coroner Jane McFadden said in a news release Thursday morning that an autopsy is scheduled for later today on the 51-year-old Danville man, whose body was discovered Wednesday morning in his house in the 3600 block of Bayview Drive after firefighters contained a fire there.

In connection with Mr. Hein's death, a 19-year-old Danville man, Christopher D. Condon, according to police records, is being held at the Danville Public Safety building on preliminary charges of murder and arson. He will be formally charged today at 1 p.m. in Vermilion County Circuit Court.

Condon was initially taken into custody Wednesday as a "person of interest" in the death investigation that immediately ensued after authorities discovered Mr. Hein's body. They had responded to Mr. Hein's house at 9:20 a.m. after a neighbor in the Bayview Estates Subivision reported smoke coming from the house, according to Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason.

Mr. Hein was a Danville native, local Realtor and owned two midtown bars in Danville — JJ's 610 Tap at 610 N. Vermilion St., a local landmark business, and in the same block, the Big Four Tavern at 620 N. Vermilion St.

Thomason said their investigation on Wednesday led police detectives to "a certain location" in Danville where they found the 19-year-old and took him into custody. On Wednesday night, Thomason said the man was being held at the Public Safety Building on preliminary charges of murder and arson.

Thomason added that there are no other suspects in the case.

"We are not looking toward anyone else at this time," he said, adding that he was releasing no further information.

Mr. Hein was one of the developers of the Bayview Estates subdivision where he lived. In 2009, he bought and refurbished the 610 Tap, which was built in 1947, and reopened it in early 2010. It had been converted to a package liquor store for a short time prior to him buying it.

Mr. Hein, who named it JJ's after his first name and that of his father, Jere, liked the 610 Tap's art-deco-style bar cabinetry and wanted it to be a neighborhood bar again like it had been for decades, he told The News-Gazette in a December 2009 article about his new investment.

The bar was not open for business Wednesday, but a woman who answered the phone said family and close friends of Mr. Hein were gathered there. Mr. Hein's other bar, the Big Four, was open Wednesday night, and its head bartender, Tina Jackowski, said the decision to open was made to give people from the community who knew Mr. Hein a place to gather as well.

And a lot of people took up the Big Four's offer Wednesday night, with the music being stopped at one point so they could toast Mr. Hein.

With emotion overcoming her, Jackowski said he was a mentor to her and a really good person.

"I'm in shock," she said. "Me and him were really close. It's hard for me now."

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