Judge denies bond reduction in fatal fire case


OREGON – The Byron man accused of killing his ex-wife and 3-year-old son in 2016 will remain in jail on a $10 million bond, Judge John Roe ruled today.

Duane Meyer was charged on Oct. 9 with four counts of first degree homicide, two counts of aggravated arson and one count of concealment of a homicidal death for allegedly setting the fire in Byron that killed Maggie Meyer and Amos Meyer.

Duane Meyer, who was led into court in an orange jumpsuit with chains at his waist and ankles, has pled not guilty to the charges.

Meyer’s attorney, Christopher Derango, of Rockford, who made the motion for the bond reduction, argued today that Meyer was not a flight risk. He said Meyer was a lifelong Ogle County resident who had family ties to the area.

He also said that during the three years since the fatal fire, Meyer has not left town or broken any laws.

“Not so much as a parking ticket,” Derango said.

He said that if released, Meyer could continue to be a “productive member” of society during the trial.

But State’s Attorney Eric Morrow told Roe that Meyer was a danger to the community and a flight risk. Morrow said that Meyer was charged with killing his ex-wife and son, two people close to him, and that when arrested, he was in possession of a loaded firearm in his vehicle.

“I would submit that nobody in this community is safe,” if Meyer is released, Morrow said.

He also said that if convicted of the charges, Meyer faces a sentence of natural life in prison. Morrow said, “that alone” is enough to keep the bond in place.

Ultimately Roe agreed, citing the charges, loaded gun and the prospect of a life sentence – along with other evidence – as reasons to leave the bond at $10 million.

“I am going to deny the bond reduction by the defense,” Roe said.

Roe set the next pre-trial hearing for Nov. 18 at 10 a.m.