Bonjean pleads guilty to starting fire in Jacksonville

By Ryne Turke on February 24, 2015 at 3:43pm

A Quincy man entered a plea of “guilty” this afternoon on charges of starting a fire in a Jacksonville garage.

After originally pleading “not guilty” in September to criminal damage of property charges, 24-year-old Matthew Bonjean reversed his plea in Morgan County Court.

The fire, which occurred at 1031 Dayton on August 23rd, caused minor damage to a one-car, unattached garage.

Special appellate attorney Edwin Parkinson handled the prosecution for the state, due to Matthew Bonjean being Morgan County State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean’s cousin.

The sentence for Bonjean was dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor and Parkinson explains why.

“He has had no prior criminal history, felonies or convictions. He also agreed to pay full restitution and that was alright with the owners of the house,” says Parkinson.

Bonjean received four days in jail, $750 plus costs in fines and 12 months of probation. In addition, Bonjean must pay $11,857 in restitution to the Cincinnati Insurance Company within 10 months.