The Illinois State Fire Marshall is investigating what caused a former police officer's home to go up in flames. Crews in Beardstown responded to the 1200 block of Wall Street around 12:30 yesterday morning.
Stephanie Wright has more on the story. Former Beardstown officer Shane Lisenbee is accused of having sex with a girl and committing a sexual act with a boy. Both were under the age of thirteen.
His wife Stephanie is accused of having sex with a boy. Early Wednesday morning, their home went up in flames.
Fire Chief Bobby Joe Brown said, "When we arrived, the porch at the front of the structure was fully involved and the window at the front here and also at the north side of the structure. So much flames were coming out."
Investigators are talking with neighbors and witnesses who may have seen or smelled something. And with the owners still in jail, they say there are no early indications of what caused the fire.
"Does that factor into your investigation at all... The possibility of arson?? It definitely gives us something to look at."
The state's fire marshall is assisting Beardstown with the investigation. Crews say you really can't put a time line on how long that will take. It could take a couple days, or a couple of months.
The state fire marshall's office says investigators still have a lot more work to do. No word yet on a damage estimate. ..more.. by
B'town officer sentenced to 35 years for sexually assaulting a child.
Former Beardstown Police officer Shane Lisenbee Monday accepted a plea agreement that spared him the possibility of mandatory life in prison.
Mr. Lisenbee, 32, displayed no emotion as he pleaded guilty to two Class X felony charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a girl younger than 13 years old.
The plea agreement called for Mr. Lisenbee to serve 17 1/2 years imprisonment on each count and to serve those sentences one after the other.
Sentencing rules require that Mr. Lisenbee serve at least 85 percent of his 35-year sentence, or nearly 30 years in prison. The Illinois Department of Corrections will determine the length of his supervised parole, which must be a minimum of three years after his release from prison and could last the rest of his life.
Each of the convictions was punishable by six to 30 years imprisonment. There is no right of probation, meaning a sole conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six years.
“This whole situation is beyond reality,” Cass County Circuit Judge Bob Hardwick Jr. at Monday's hearing. “What you’ve done today will at least save (the children) from having to testify.”
By agreeing to plea bargain, Mr. Lisenbee avoided the possibility of spending his life in prison. Two additional Class X charges accusing him of predatory criminal sexual assault of a second child were dropped in the plea agreement. If he were convicted of predatory sexual assault of more than one victim, he faced mandatory life in prison. A misdemeanor domestic battery charge was also dismissed.
Mr. Lisenbee had no prior criminal history.
Cass County State’s Attorney John Dahlem said in court that the state would have presented evidence at trial showing the defendant twice sexually assaulted the young girl between Nov. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2007.
Mr. Lisenbee’s court-appointed attorney, Cass County Public Defender Robert Welch, told Judge Hardwick that he believed the state had “quite a bit of evidence” with which to prove its case against his client.
Both attorneys declined to comment after the hearing.
Mr. Lisenbee answered, “Yes, sir,” or “No, sir,” when the judge questioned him to determine if he understood the rights he was giving up and the terms of the plea agreement.
Satisfied with Mr. Lisenbee’s understanding, Judge Hardwick concurred with the plea agreement. The defendant also was ordered to pay court costs and was credited with 88 days already served.
Through his attorney, Mr. Lisenbee asked that several rifles and handguns and a shotgun that had been seized by police be given to his father. The weapons were confiscated when a search warrant was executed at Mr. Lisenbee’s residence in Beardstown.
His lawyer said he did not know why the weapons were seized, because they had nothing to do with the crimes for which Mr. Lisenbee was charged. After Mr. Dahlem informed the court that he had no position on the request, Judge Hardwick granted it, providing Mr. Lisenbee’s father has a valid firearm owner’s identification card.
Mr. Lisenbee’s wife, Stephanie, still faces trial May 12 on two counts of Class X felony predatory criminal sexual assault involving a girl and a boy whom the couple knew. Her attorney is attempting to have her evaluated for battered-woman syndrome as a possible defense. The suitability of that defense and whether the county will pay for the evaluation of Mrs. Lisenbee, who is deemed indigent, are still to be decided. A hearing on her motion is set for next Monday.
Mr. Lisenbee, a six-year veteran of the Beardstown Police Department, resigned Feb. 20 as Police Chief Tom Schlueter served him with a notice that the city was taking administrative action to have him fired.
Mr. Lisenbee was initially accused of domestic battery in January. After Mrs. Lisenbee reportedly was interviewed by an Illinois State Police investigator, the couple was charged with the multiple felony counts accusing them of sexual misconduct with children. ..Source..