CHARLESTON — A man could receive a prison sentence after he admitted making methamphetamine, causing a fire and damaging a Mattoon home last year.
Lewis D. Ferguson pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful use of property for methamphetamine manufacturing in connection with drug production that caused the fire on Aug. 9, 2013.
He was living in a first-floor apartment of the two-story home at 2512 Pine Ave. at the time and used the unoccupied second floor apartment for the methamphetamine production, according to records in his case.
Ferguson, 50, who listed a current address of “homeless” in court records, entered the guilty plea with no agreement on the sentence he will receive. The charge can result in a prison term of three to seven years, though prison time won’t be required.
The agreement reached in his case included dismissal of a charge of aggravated methamphetamine manufacturing, alleging the drug production took place in a “multi-unit dwelling.” A conviction for that offense would have required a prison sentence of six to 30 years.
Coles County Circuit Judge Mitchell Shick scheduled Ferguson’s sentencing hearing for Dec. 5. Assistant State’s Attorney Bryant Hitchings is prosecuting the case and attorney Jeannine Garrett represents Ferguson.
Also with the agreement, a charge of driving while license revoked in connection with a traffic stop on July 1 of last year was dismissed. That charge was a felony because Ferguson has prior license revoked convictions, including one in 2001 for which he received prison time.
Ferguson also has a prior felony drug possession conviction from Cumberland County, according to that county’s court records.
Records in Ferguson’s Coles County drug case indicate that he was already under investigation by police for suspected drug activity at the time of the fire.
Items related to methamphetamine manufacturing were found in the house’s second-floor apartment after the fire, the records show.