Basler sentenced on Reckless Burning charge

A Madison woman will spend time in the state penitentiary for starting a building on fire in Lake County last year.  

64-year-old Gail Basler was sentenced on Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court on one felony count of Reckless Burning or Exploding.  Basler had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a plea agreement with the state.  

Basler started the barn on fire at her brother’s residence near Wentworth in February of 2019.  In court Wednesday, Circuit Judge Pat Pardy said Basler intentionally started the fire and caused significant damage to the barn out of anger toward her brother.  Judge Pardy said that Basler committed a “calculated criminal act fueled by alcohol and hate”. All Lake County fire departments responded to the fire at the time, but were not able to save the barn.  

Judge Pardy sentenced Basler to serve ten years in the state penitentiary, but suspended five years of the sentence based on several conditions.  He gave her credit for the 172 days she had already served in jail. The judge also ordered Basler to pay fine and court costs of more than 700-dollars, and to re-pay the county for her court-appointed attorney’s fees.  He sentenced her to pay restitution of more than 53-thousand dollars to American Family Insurance, and to her brother for one-thousand dollars for insurance deductible. Judge Pardy said further restitution for Basler will be determined at a future restitution hearing or through civil proceedings.