St. Louis man sentenced after pleading guilty to Centralia arson charge

MARION COUNTY — A 27-year-old St. Louis man was sentenced Thursday in Marion County Court to 6-years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to the March 2020 arson at a Centralia home.

Nicholas Fletcher

Nicholas D. Fletcher was initially charged with Class 1 felonies for residential arson and residential burglary. He pleaded guilty Thursday to the arson charge in exchange for the burglary charge being dismissed.

Initially, it appeared that the arson was done in an attempt to cover up a burglary, as several items removed from the residence were located in a trash can nearby.

Later after conducting interviews with family members, it was determined that Fletcher — the homeowner’s nephew — was possibly responsible.

Fletcher was arrested a few days later after telling police he knew the house was unoccupied due to the resident being out of town.

He stated that on the night of the fire, he and another male subject broke into the residence where he traded sex for drugs.

Fletcher stated that he and the other male subject spent the night together in the residence and in the morning they burglarized the home removing several items and set the house on fire.

The second man, 27-year-old Justin Pitt, of Beckemeyer, was arrested later that same day and has since pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 7-years in prison.