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Second teen takes plea deal in Cedar Bridge arson

MADISON COUNTY- A second teen has confessed to playing a part in the April 2017 arson of an iconic Madison County bridge. 

Joel Davis, 18, pleaded guilty Monday morning to Arson in the Second Degree in Madison County. As part of an agreed-upon plea agreement, a Criminal Mischief in the First Degree charge against Davis will be dismissed, and he'll be required to pay restitution and testify on behalf of the state in the trial of co-defendant Alexander Hoff.

At sentencing, Davis will argue for a deferred judgment, while the state would argue for any sentence consistent with the findings of a pre-sentence investigation

The Madison County Sheriff's Department was called to the Cedar Bridge around 6 a.m. on April 15, 2017. When crews got there, they found the structure completely engulfed in flames. 

In less than two hours, crews knocked the fire out, but the charred remains of the cedar-covered bridge bridge immediately pointed investigators towards arson.

"At that point, they're just trying to save it as much as possible, keep it standing, so we can preserve evidence. No lives were in danger or anything like that," Madison County Sheriff Jason Barnes said at the time.

19-year-old Alivia Bergmann admitted to her role in December 2017.

"On April 15, Alex [Hoff] and Joel [Davis] and I went to the bridge. We had lighter fluid, lit it and left," Bergmann said.

In a similarly-structured plea agreement, Bergmann pleaded guilty to Arson in the Second Degree and a Criminal Mischief in the First Degree was dropped. Bergmann is also expected to testify on behalf of the state in the trial of Alexander Hoff, as well as pay restitution. 

Hoff's trial is scheduled for March 27 in Pottawattamie County after a judge granted a second change of venue. Hoff is charged with Arson in the Second Degree and Criminal Mischief in the First Degree.

Davis is scheduled to be sentenced April 16. 


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