Crime & Courts

Bond lowered for Fox River Grove woman accused of setting fire

Ashlen E. Beckley appeared before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather on Monday, asking that her bond be lowered.
Ashlen E. Beckley appeared before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather on Monday, asking that her bond be lowered.

WOODSTOCK – A Fox River Grove woman accused of starting a fire in a rental unit she shared with her boyfriend told a McHenry County judge she suffers from depression, anxiety and attention-deficit disorder.

Ashlen E. Beckley appeared before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather on Monday, asking that her bond be lowered.

Prather agreed to reduce the 20-year-old woman's bond to $30,000, meaning she needs $3,000 to be released from McHenry County Jail. Prather also ordered a psychological evaluation.

Assistant State's Attorney Dave Johnston rejected any bond decrease saying that Beckley started the fire by putting lit cigarette ashes into a paper lawn bag because she was distraught over her relationship with her boyfriend. Beckley saw the bag smoking but went upstairs without putting it out, Johnston said.

The fire trapped Beckley on the second floor of the rental unit at 107 Center St. She and a dog were rescued by fire crews. The incident happened March 26.

Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rick Behof, said that no one else was home at the time, and it didn't appear that she was trying to harm anyone other than herself. He noted that Beckley had no prior criminal history.

The fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damage.

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