Suspect in Butler County church arson to pay restitution

Thursday, June 21, 2012

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Having already completed an extensive treatment program and agreeing to make restitution, a Poplar Bluff man will not be prosecuted for throwing Molotov cocktails into a local church and then setting the church on fire when the devices didn't work.

Andrew Storm McClure, 21, was one of four originally charged with second-degree arson and unlawful use of a weapon in connection with a Feb. 6, 2011, fire at Fellowship General Baptist Church in which the church's youth room was damaged.

His parents put him in the Teen Challenge program, which lasted 18 months, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour said.

Initially, Barbour said, McClure was at the program's Little Rock, Ark., facility. "He was confined to their campus and went through extensive rehabilitation and education," he said.

McClure then transferred to Missouri "under the same circumstances and continued the education under restrictive circumstances," said Barbour, who received numerous recommendation letters on McClure's behalf.

In those letters, Barbour said, McClure was described as being an "exemplary participant" in the program, and that he continues to work with the program talking to at-risk youths.

"I felt like after I read all that, that he had done so much more than anyone else involved and deserved some consideration," Barbour said.

A "very strict, particularized" deferred prosecution agreement with McClure calls for drug testing and continual monitoring of his activities, Barbour said.

McClure also will be paying restitution at $100 per month.

"Plus, from everything I read and all the information, he has a really good support system," Barbour said. "I see enablers every day. His parents addressed the problem aggressively and properly, and he benefited from it."

Had McClure been sent to prison, "he'd be out and on parole," Barbour said. "He's spent a lot more time confined under his circumstances than if he had got the maximum."

"[McClure[']s] just showed so much and done so much more" than his three co-defendants, "I felt compelled to do something different" with his case, Barbour said.

Two of McClure's co-defendants, Robert Benjamin Rushin, 19, and Zachary Edward Surque, 19, pleaded guilty in November to second-degree arson.

At the time of their pleas, Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett suspended the imposition of their sentences and placed them each on five years' supervised probation. As a special condition of their probations, each was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution.

In May, Dylan W. Causbie, 18, also pleaded guilty of second-degree arson.

Pritchett also suspended the imposition of Causbie's sentence and placed him on five years' supervised probation. A special condition of Causbie's probation is paying $100 a month in restitution for a total of $6,000

The restitution money from the three defendants reportedly will be used to reimburse the church for whatever it paid out of pocket and the remaining amount will be forwarded to the church's insurance company.

Church officials report the insurance company paid out about $186,000 to repair the damage to its youth room.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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