North Church Street Arson Suspect Pleads Guilty

By Benjamin Cox on January 31, 2024 at 9:20am

A Jacksonville man accused of purposely setting fire to a North Church Street garage in December has pleaded guilty to arson.

39-year old Dustin J. Jones of the 300 block of West Lafayette Avenue was arrested by Jacksonville Police on December 3rd on arson and theft charges for setting fire to a garage at 606 North Church Street. The North Church Street neighborhood was hit with 3 separate suspicious fires, believed to be intentionally set since May 26th.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says Jones pleaded guilty this afternoon at his pretrial hearing: “He ended up pleading guilty to the arson charge. The defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, followed by a one year period of parole. The theft matter was dismissed as part of this plea.”

The theft case accused Jones of taking a trail camera at the same address on November 7th on the property of the same person who owned the North Church Street garage.

Noll says that he doesn’t believe any further arson charges are forthcoming: “So [Jones] was and is a suspect in a few other arson cases that occurred in this neighborhood. I can’t speak for law enforcement. I don’t believe there will be any other formal charges coming. With the passage of the SAFE-T Act, any other charges would be concurrent anyway. The defendant would be looking at concurrent time in the Department of Corrections. I don’t know that other charges will be coming necessarily, but I believe that this type of activity, certainly around the Church Street neighborhood, won’t occur with Mr. Jones being in the Department of Corrections.”

Jones’ defense counsel did request that Jones be given the opportunity to be placed into mental health counseling while he’s incarcerated.

Noll says he’s unaware of any civil litigation being filed against Jones at this time.