Arson charge leveled against man accused of attempted murder

CLINTON — A man charged last week with attempted murder now is facing an additional felony charge, accused of earlier setting a fire at the residence of the same alleged victim.

Jeremy S. Wagner, 38, of Morrison, Illinois, is charged with first-degree arson, a Class B felony. Wagner also is charged with attempted murder, a Class B felony. A preliminary hearing for both charges is set for 8:30 a.m. June 19.

According to the affidavit for the arson charge, on June 1 a male reported to a detective that several days earlier he went outside his residence at 612 11th Ave. South around 5 a.m. after seeing a fireball go across the home surveillance system monitor. The male went outside and saw a broken orange juice bottle and fire by his front porch. He saw items burning in the street in front of his residence. He believed the items were used as a wick for a Molotov cocktail. The male told police his neighbor had surveillance video of the incident. The officer viewed the surveillance video, which showed that at 4:53 a.m. May 28 a person lighted and threw two Molotov cocktails at the residence.

The affidavit states that in a recorded interview on June 1, Wagner told a detective he went to the residence he knew the male was staying at and lighted and threw two Molotov cocktails at the residence. Wagner told the detective an orange juice bottle was used.

According to the affidavit in reference to the attempted murder charge, at 8:08 a.m. June 1, officers were dispatched to the 2100 block of Lincoln Way in Clinton for an accident involving a car and a motorcycle. Officers said a vehicle had driven over the top of a motorcycle in the 2000 block of Lincoln Way. Wagner was identified as the driver of the vehicle. A male, who was the same male who reported the arson to his residence, was the driver of the motorcycle.

The affidavit says witnesses stated they saw Wagner traveling south on Mill Creek Parkway. Wagner drove through the red light at the Mill Creek and U.S. 30 intersection, turning east. The male motorcyclist was at the Mill Creek and U.S. 30 intersection in the westbound left-turning lane when witnesses noticed the male make a u-turn and begin traveling east back into town on U.S. 30. Witnesses then noticed Wagner chasing the male east on U.S. 30.

Witnesses stated they observed both individuals travel through the intersection at 21st Street and Lincoln Way, traveling east. They went through the red light in the left-turn lane at a high rate of speed. Witnesses stated Wagner then ran directly into the motorcycle, pinning the motorcyclist under the vehicle.