September 22, 2018

Restaurant owner and his associate charged in Butler’s Mill fire

Christopher Phillips is charged in the fire that destroyed the 150-year-old Butler Mill

Christopher Phillips is charged in the fire that destroyed the 150-year-old Butler Mill (Photo: Randolph County jail)

(Graham, AL) — The restaurant owner and another man were arrested last week in connection to the fire that burned the 150-year-old Butler Mill in Randolph County in October of last year.

According to State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen, the Oct. 17 fire was a result of arson.

Christopher Phillips, 48, an owner of the Butler’s Mill restaurant, and Ruben Morgan, 47, are each charged with second degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson, and reckless endangerment.

Phillips purchased the mill and renovated the building in early 2016 before opening it as a restaurant.

The investigation into the mill fire revealed a chicken house and Bobcat fire in Cleburne County in January of 2016 were also arson, and both men are additionally charged in that county with second degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson.

Morgan, described as an associate of Phillips, is currently in jail in Cleburne County while Phillips is in jail in Randolph County.

Jonathan Ruben (Photo: Cleburne County Jail)

Jonathan Ruben (Photo: Cleburne County Jail)

No further details on how the fires started or a motive were released during a Monday press conference by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.

The new owners had renovated the mill just months prior to the arson.

The mill was originally built on the Tallapoosa River in the early 19th century and was later relocated to CR 92 in Graham.

It first opened as as restaurant in 1993.

Stay tuned for further details as they become available.

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