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Dixon man gets 12 years for attempted murder

Felon set fire to apartment building after fighting with resident

DIXON – A 21-year-old Dixon man who set fire to an apartment building after a fight with a resident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder.

Christopher Owens, sentenced Monday in Lee County Court, set the fire at 511 W. Third St. on Sept. 20. The blaze engulfed the building's south, west and north sides.

About an hour before, police had responded to a fight involving Owens and one of the tenants, a man who lived in the same apartment targeted by Owens.

None of the seven people inside the building at the time of the fire were injured.

Owens must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, a little more than 10 years, then must register as a violent offender for 10 years.

He had been charged with seven counts of attempted murder and four counts of aggravated arson, each punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison. Ten were dropped as part of his plea agreement.

Owens already has a criminal history.

On Nov. 24, 2012, armed with a steak knife, he kicked in the door of a house on West First Street and took money from a woman. Last July, he was sentenced to 30 months of probation for trespass to a residence. Home invasion, armed robbery and armed violence charges were dropped.

In October 2011, he pleaded guilty to criminal defacement of property for breaking into a garage the month before. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a burglary charge.

In August 2011, after he pleaded guilty to the Feb. 3 break-in at Al & Leda’s Pizzeria, he was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge plus jail time served.

He also has misdemeanor convictions for theft and consumption of alcohol as a minor.

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