Felony arson charges dropped in Bushnell

Felony arson charges dropped in Bushnell.

Peoria Journal Star
Bushnell (GHMI) – More than two years after a fire destroyed a Bushnell restaurant, felony charges have been dropped against a couple accused of arson.

In September 2011, Ricky J. Roberts, then 37, of Macomb and Allison D. Roberts, then 34, of Bushnell were charged with aggravated arson and arson in connection with setting fire earlier in the year to the Brickhouse, a restaurant they co-owned with two others at 455 W. Main St. in Bushnell, several months earlier.

The McDonough County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed its decision to no longer continue to prosecute the case. State’s Attorney James Hoyle did not respond to a request for comment.

James LeFante, defense attorney for Allison Roberts, said, “(The) dismissal of the charges against of Mr. and Mrs. Roberts is a vindication of their innocence. The case was dismissed because the state did not believe it could meet its burden (of proof).”

The Brickhouse fire erupted in the early morning hours of March 10, 2011, damaging adjacent buildings and leaving the restaurant itself a complete loss. Investigators in Bushnell believed that the Roberts’ set the fire in an attempt to reap insurance money.