Kenny Cathey

EFFINGHAM — A Casey man pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of arson.

Kenny L. Cathey, 27, pleaded guilty to the Class 2 felony as a part of an open plea agreement with the state. In an open plea, a defendant pleads guilty to an offense without an agreement regarding punishment.

Assistant State’s Attorney Rob Scales said the prosecution agreed to cap Cathey’s maximum possible jail sentence at 10 years. Judge Alan Lolie informed Cathey that an arson charge carries with it a possible sentence of three to 14 years in prison, but his sentence would only be up to 10 years.

A count of residential arson, a Class 1 felony, was dismissed as part of the agreement.

Scales said Cathey has several prior offenses, including burglary, fleeing a peace officer, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of cannabis, retail theft and reckless driving.

Cathey was arrested on the residential arson charge this summer after the Effingham Fire Department was called to a residence at 215 E. St. Louis Ave. in Effingham on June 10 around 5:52 p.m. following numerous reports of an explosion in the garage at the residence and a person lying on the ground near the home’s garage.

Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland later confirmed the person lying on the ground was Cathey, who was arrested after being treated at the scene by Abbott EMS and taken to HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital.

Scales said on Thursday that the garage fire caused more than $150 in damages.

Cathey remains in custody at the Effingham County Jail, where he is being held on a $75,000 bond. Should he post the 10 percent bail, he is to refrain from contact with the owner of the damaged garage and cannot enter the residence on E. St. Louis Ave.

Cathey will be sentenced Jan. 9 at 1 p.m.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.


Kaitlin Cordes covers Effingham County, police and courts and sports features for the Effingham Daily News. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Cordes is a native of Effingham.

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