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Wednesday, May 15, 2019 06:02 pm

Feds charge shooting range owner with arson

Faces decades in prison

The owner of a Springfield shooting range heavily damaged by a 2017 fire is facing 40 years in prison after being charged with arson by federal prosecutors.

Arrested Monday, John W. Jackson, 45, made an initial court appearance today and is scheduled for arraignment on Thursday. Prosecutors say he bought $1.625 million worth of insurance on the Springfield Shooting Center, 4885 Industrial Drive, then torched the building on Sept. 6, 2017, less than a month after the policy, which doubled previous coverage, took effect. Jackson submitted a $1.62 million claim after the fire.

A Springfield fire investigator was injured while determining a cause. Prosecutors say that Jackson and his wife were purchasing the property, owed more than $1 million and were behind on payments by at least $75,000. They also allege that Jackson had told his insurer that some of the business’ property had been stolen when, in fact, it had been sold. According to Jackson's wife, the business wasn't profitable.

Jackson is charged with arson and insurance fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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