Plea Entered In Thrift Shop Arson Case

Nathan W. Duff

The man who set fire to the HSHS Holy Family Hospital Thrift Shop on April 22 entered into a negotiated plea of guilty in Bond County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.

Nathan W. Duff, age 20, of Greenville, was placed on probation for 48 months and sentenced to 180 days in the county jail. He receives day-for-day good time. Because he has been incarcerated since the fire, Duff could be released on July 21.

He was ordered to pay restitution of $50,000. According to State’s Attorney Dora Mann, that is the hospital’s deductible amount. The defendant will pay $50 in August and a court hearing will be held September 11 for a payment schedule to be determined. Mann said this will also give Duff time to seek employment.

Duff must also complete 200 hours of community service work, and obtain psychiatric or psychological counseling.

He was ordered to refrain from being on the Thrift Store property and cannot initiate contact with Thrift Store volunteers or customers.

When State’s attorney Mann was asked to present evidence in the case, she said testimony would have indicated Duff was identified on Thrift Store video surveillance as the subject seen in front of the building at 12:24 a.m. and 12:37 a.m. She said three minutes later smoke was seen.

The state’s attorney reported evidence would also be that HSHS has sustained over $371,000 in damage and losses at the Thrift Shop, and the total continues to rise since the store has yet to reopen.

Duff must also sign up with the state’s arson registry through the Illinois State Police.

In accepting the plea agreement, Duff waived his right to a jury trial, and changed his plea to the arson charge from not guilty to guilty.

State’s Attorney Mann told Judge Christopher Bauer the defendant had no previous criminal record.

The judge said he would accept the agreement based on Duff’s age and lack of any prior criminal history.

Judge Bauer offered the defendant the opportunity to make a statement. Duff said he was not at the Thrift Shop during the times stated by Mann.

The judge advised Duff arson of a serious charge and if he violates his probation order, he would be subject to incarceration in state prison.

The fire was set outside the building at the front, causing fire damage to the structure and smoke damage throughout the building.

All merchandise in the store had to be removed.

Repairs to the building began this week. A date for the Thrift Shop to reopen has not been announced.

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