Man receives 27 1/2 year prison sentence for murder, arson

PEORIA - A central Illinois man who pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing and burning the body of a Peoria nightclub owner has been sentenced to 27-and-a-half years in prison.

On Tuesday, Bryan Stewart pleaded guilty to aggravated arson and second-degree murder in the October 2013 death of Todd Scholl.  In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop a first-degree murder charge and lesser arson count.

Fire and police officials say they found Scholl's body when they responded to a report of a building fire.  According to prosecutors, two fires were started on the building's first floor, including one on Scholl's body.  An autopsy showed that Scholl had suffered multiple stab wounds.  Stewart had said that he was attacked by Scholl, and that he acted in self-defense.

Stewart must serve at least 15 years of his sentence.
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