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Judge won't lower bond for Byron man charged with murder of son, ex-wife

OREGON – The Byron man charged with killing his 3-year-old son and ex-wife will remain in Ogle County Jail on $10 million bond, a judge decided this afternoon.

Margaret “Maggie” Meyer, 31, was found dead on a couch on the first floor of her burning home at 2020 N. Silverthorn Drive on Oct. 19, 2016, and her 3-year-old son, Amos, was pronounced dead a short time later at a Rockford hospital.

Duane "D.C." Meyer, 37, of Byron, was arrested last week and indicted by an Ogle County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, two counts of aggravated arson and one count of concealment of a homicidal death.

At the time of his arrest, he also had a loaded firearm and was charged with unlawful use of a weapon.

Rockford attorney Christopher A. DeRango, representing Meyer, requested Meyer's bond be reduced to $100,000, of which he would need to post 10 percent, arguing that Meyer is a lifelong resident of the area with family ties, that he would not pose a danger to the community or be a flight risk, and that the evidence against him is circumstantial.

Citing the probable cause affidavit for the weapon charge and the bill of indictment returned by the grand jury on the other charges, Ogle County State's Attorney Eric Morrow argued that Meyer is accused of violently killing two people closest to him and would be both a safety and flight risk.

The sentence of life in prison if convicted also was a crucial factor, he said.

"That factor alone strongly mitigates that his bond remain the same," Morrow said.

Judge John "Ben" Roe denied the bond reduction.

Meyer's next hearing is Nov. 18.

According to the investigation:

It was Meyer who reported the fire, around 6:40 a.m. that day. He told officials he was there to pick up his son. The couple had divorced about a month earlier.; Ogle County Court records show she filed for the dissolution in November 2014 and the divorce was granted Sept. 8, 2016.

When firefighters arrived, smoke alarms were sounding, the house was filled with heavy smoke, and Meyer and a Byron police officer were on the lawn performing CPR on Amos, who had been in an upstairs bedroom.

Amos and his father were taken to then-Rockford Memorial Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed he died of smoke inhalation.

Authorities have declined to reveal the cause of Maggie Meyer’s death, although they said pathologists have determined it. They also have not said how the fire started.

A representative from the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was an arson while he was at the scene.

Maggie, the daughter of Donald and Luann Rosko, of Mount Morris, was a teacher at the Chana Educational Center.

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