WAUSAU — Charges have been filed against a second suspect in an arson that badly damaged a Wausau tavern.

Robert F. Hernandez, 33, of Wausau is expected to appear Oct. 26 in Marathon County Circuit Court on felony arson charges in connection with the Aug. 4, 2016 blaze at Cabaret, 204 E. Rib Mountain Drive.

Hernandez is the second person to be charged in the fire. Charges were first filed in September against Tony Patterson, Jr., 39, who goes by the nickname “Two Tone,” according to court documents.

Patterson was a person of interest in the case early on after a bartender reported seeing him drive by the tavern several times each day after a July incident in which Patterson was booted from the tavern.

Tony J Patterson dob 07-25-1978
Tony J. Patterson, is also accused of setting the Aug. 2016 fire that badly damaged Cabaret, 204 E. Rib Mountain Drive, in Wausau.

Investigators learned that the car Patterson was riding in was allegedly owned by the girlfriend of Hernandez, and that the three would drive by on a regular basis in the days leading up to the fire.

Police said witnesses also came forward who saw Patterson with Hernandez shortly after the blaze began. Additional evidence was recovered that pointed to Hernandez’s involvement in the arson, according to court documents.

Hernandez, who has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2001, has prior convictions for battery, burglary, cocaine trafficking, obstruction, disorderly conduct. He was last arrested in May in Wausau on charges of fleeing an officer in a case that has not yet concluded. Court records show. 

Hernandez is not in custody at this time.

The felony arson charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 40 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.