Two teens get probation in Poplar Bluff church arson

| December 1, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — Two Poplar Bluff teenagers recently were placed on probation after pleading guilty to throwing Molotov cocktails into a local church, then setting the church on fire when the devices didn't work.

Robert Benjamin Rushin, 19, of the 700 block of County Road 456, and Zachary Edward Surque, 19, of the 100 block of County Road 4703, pleaded guilty last week to second-degree arson.

"It was a negotiated [plea]; it was an offer I made," Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour said.

Rushin and Surque, both of whom Barbour described as having no criminal history, pleaded guilty in connection with a Feb. 6 fire at Fellowship General Baptist Church in which the church's youth room was damaged.

After accepting the teens' pleas, Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett suspended the imposition of their sentences and placed them each on five years' supervised probation.

Each also has to pay $5,000 restitution as a special condition of his probation, Barbour said.

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Category: Church Security

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