Springfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Cass Co. Arson

By Benjamin Cox on May 8, 2024 at 11:13am

A Springfield woman will spend the next month in the Menard County Jail after pleading guilty to arson in Cass County Circuit Court on Monday.

Coats – Photo Courtesy of Menard County Sheriff’s Department

41-year old Amy M. Coats pleaded guilty to Class 2 felony arson. Coats was arrested on November 30th of last year after a fire destroyed a home that Coats formerly resided in located at 306 Wooldridge Lane in Philadelphia Township.

According to the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office, local fire officials brought in an investigator from the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal to conduct an investigation after they had determined that the fire started under suspicious circumstances after locating fire accelerators inside the home. OSFM investigators were able to send off materials collected inside the residence to their Belleville laboratory and were able to determine that gasoline was used to purposely start the fire.

The Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office says that through the use of cellphone records that pinged Coats location, and through assistance from the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office on a forensic audit of cellphone records – Coats was placed at the home at the time of the fire.

Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller says that the arson charge was applied on Coats due to her attempt to defraud State Farm Insurance through a property damage claim placed on the home. Miller says that through the filing of the claim and a third-party investigation conducted by State Farm claiming the fire to be suspicious in nature, they were able to pinpoint that Coats had intentionally set the fire in order to defraud her homeowner’s insurance policy.

Coats pleaded guilty to the charge on Monday in front of Cass County Circuit Judge Timothy J. Wessel. Coats was sentenced to 60 days of local jail time with day-for-day credit to apply, 2 years of adult probation, and ordered to pay a $200 county fine plus court assessments. She was immediately remanded to the custody of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and will serve her local jail sentence in the Menard County Detention Facility.