Former Marion woman sentenced in arson case

Staff writer

A former Marion resident whose Santa Fe St. house was destroyed by fire will serve probation for conspiracy to set the fire.

Gina A. Schaefer, 47, now of Lyons, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months probation for conspiracy to commit arson.

Her son, Andrew M. Schaefer, 22, has pleaded guilty to arson and awaits sentencing scheduled for Oct. 3.

The charges stem from the Feb. 13, 2015 arson of a house at 321 W. Santa Fe St. where the Schaefer family lived at the time.

District judge Mike Powers told Schaefer that restitution in the case will be $6,000 to the city of Marion and $39,662 to State Farm Insurance, and both she and her son would be held responsible to pay. If one does not pay their half, the state can hold the other to pay it, Powers told her.

Powers agreed to defense lawyer Lori Lalouette’s request that Schaefer’s probation be transferred to Lyons County.

Although court services officer Amber Knapp had recommended that Schaefer be ordered to have no contact with either of her children, Powers declined to impose that condition.

“You will be allowed to have contact with your children,” Powers said.

Gina and Andrew Schaefer were identically charged on Feb. 22 with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, and interference with law enforcement. Both were bound over for trial on June 1.

On June 20, Gina Schaefer agreed to plead no contest to the conspiracy charge in return for the arson and interference charges being dismissed. The plea agreement further specified she would be placed on a payment plan for the costs of the case, including restitution.

On Aug. 9, Andrew Schaefer pleaded guilty to arson. Under the terms of his plea agreement, charges of conspiracy to commit arson and interference with law enforcement were dismissed and prosecutors agreed not to object to his request for probation to be served consecutive to probation he’s already serving for previous convictions. It also specifies he will share responsibility for payment of restitution with his mother.

Juvenile charges were filed against Elizabeth, who attends high school in Lyons.

Last modified Aug. 31, 2016