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Owner accused of torching his own restaurant

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

Charges of aggravated arson were filed Wednesday against Mike Butler, 36, owner of T-Bone's Sports Bar & Grill, in relation to a fire that gutted the restaurant in October.

Following a bond hearing Wednesday, Butler is under Northwest Kansas Community Corrections bond supervision and is being monitored by a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, said County Attorney Tom Drees.

T-Bone's, 2415 General Hays Road, is one of several businesses located in Centennial Center, some of which sustained smoke damage as a result of the T-Bone's fire.

Businesses listed in the complaint against Butler include: Centennial Shopping Center, which housed T-Bone's; Heartland Crafts and Gifts & Merle Norman Cosmetics; Centennial Salon; and Nex-Tech.

The charge of aggravated arson, a level-6 person felony, stems from the fact a Nex-Tech employee was present in the building complex at the time of the fire.

Sentencing for aggravated arson can vary depending upon prior criminal record of the individual.

"If convicted, on the low end, you're looking at 18 months underlying prison sentence and probation for two years," Drees said.

No date has been set for Butler's preliminary hearing, he said.