By Shereen Siewert
A trial set to begin Monday for one of two people accused of setting a fire at a Wausau tavern has been postponed after the defendant withdrew his demand for a speedy trial.
Tony Patterson Jr., 39, of Wausau, along with 33-year-old Robert F. Hernandez, both face felony arson charges in connection with the Aug. 4, 2016 blaze at Cabaret, 204 E. Rib Mountain Drive. Charges were filed in the case in September 2017. Patterson’s trial was postponed at a motion hearing Oct. 24.
During the investigation into the fire, police interviewed a bartender who reported Patterson had been booted from the bar in July 2016 and had been seen driving past the bar repeatedly in the days leading up to the fire, according to court documents. The car Patterson was riding in was allegedly owned by the girlfriend of Hernandez, police said.
Police said witnesses also came forward who allegedly saw Patterson with Hernandez shortly after the blaze began, according to court documents. Hernandez’s case has not yet concluded.
The felony arson charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 40 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
A scheduling conference is set for next week.