The owner of T-Bone’s Sports Bar and Grill in Hays pleads no contest to aggravated arson for a fire that heavily damaged the popular bar and heavily damaged six other businesses last October.
Benjamin Michael Butler entered the plea Tuesday in Ellis County District Court.
Investigators say the blaze apparently started after Butler left a candle burning when he left the business.
Based on the state’s sentencing guidelines, “Mike” Butler likely will be sentenced to two year’s probation under the supervision of community corrections and to make restitution of nearly $350,000 to six other businesses damaged by the October 9th fire in the Centennial Shopping Center.
Surveillance video showed a person enter and leave T-Bones prior to the fire being reported. That person was wearing clothing similar to what Butler had on when he arrived at the fire scene.