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CHARLESTON (JG-TC) -- The Coles County State's Attorney's Office is seeking a charge of attempted murder against the man suspected of setting fire to the Mother's Bar building, 506 Monroe Ave., according to court records.

This is the second charge against Brian T. Griffin for his alleged involvement in the fire that scorched the building Feb. 16. As previously reported, Griffin was charged with aggravated arson for the fire. 

Both charges are Class X felonies.

Griffin's preliminary hearing is set for Monday. Griffin was sent to the Coles County jail Friday after being taken into custody in Chicago

Before this, Griffin indicated to family and friends that he would turn himself in but did not do so. 

Griffin resided in one of the upstairs apartments in the Mother's building at some point more than a month ago, but was not living there at the time of the fire that consumed most of the building, according to authorities.

Charleston police Detective Tony West said surveillance footage showed Griffin purchasing gasoline at the Huck's gas station in Charleston and then heading in and out of the Mother's building around the time of the fire.

A verbal altercation between Griffin and his wife and father-in-law took place on Feb. 15, the day before the fire, and police believe it might be a connection to the motive behind him allegedly starting the fire.

Two orders of protection against Griffin were granted to Luther Holden and Willie Grady last month, with Holden alleging that Griffin "tried killing” him and aimed to “burn down apartment.” Griffin “tried to burn me alive,” Holden alleges in his order of protection.

Grady claims he went with his daughter to her apartment on Feb. 15, the day before the fire, and was approached there by Griffin, who allegedly threatened to kill him. Grady also claims Griffin attacked him with knives while at his daughter’s apartment.



Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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