Derrick J. Kuhlman

EFFINGHAM — A Mode man has pleaded guilty to burning down his ex-wife’s home in Shumway.

Derrick J. Kuhlman, 43, pleaded guilty to residential arson, a Class 1 felony. Under a plea agreement with the Effingham County state’s attorney, three pending felony cases and one misdemeanor case was dismissed.

Kuhlman will serve 11 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, followed by two years of mandatory supervised release. He has credit for 139 days served in the Effingham County Jail.

Kuhlman must also pay $50,000 in restitution to his ex-wife, Rebecca Kuhlman, as well as court fines and fees. He also can have no contact with Rebecca Kuhlman.

Assistant State’s Attorney Rob Scales said in January that Derrick Kuhlman traveled to Rebecca Kuhlman’s home, located on Main Street in Shumway. Derrick Kuhlman then set fire to the residence and caused $50,000 worth of damage, authorities said.

Scales said text messages obtained by the state between Derrick Kuhlman and another defendant in the case, Bettyann M. Conner, 36, of Mode, implicated Derrick Kuhlman in the arson.

Scales said an animal at Rebecca Kuhlman’s residence was also relocated elsewhere, and items of value were taken from the home and later witnessed in Derrick Kuhlman’s possession.

Additionally, the bond paid in each of the dismissed cases is to apply to the residential arson case. Allocation of those bond amounts will be determined June 3 at 9 a.m.

Conner next appears in court for a pre-trial hearing at 10 a.m. June 4.


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