Peoria man claims club owner's fatal stabbing was self defense

By WEEK Producer

October 10, 2013 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 8:18 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Bryan Stewart, the man accused of the first degree murder of bar-owner Todd Scholl, was ordered held on $1.5 million bond on Thursday.

In court Thursday afternoon, Stewart blurted out "It was self-defense", before being told not to speak.

According to Assistant State's Attorney Dave Kenny, Stewart told police he had gone to the building at Main and Perry to speak to Scholl about a job.

According to Stewart, Scholl wanted to have sex with him and put a knife to his throat. Stewart told police he kicked Scholl and was able to get the knife. During the scuffle, Stewart said he stabbed Scholl in both the chest and back. He then set fire to Scholl's body.

Assistant State's Attorney Kenny said arson investigators found two places where a fire had been set and that an accelerant had been used.

Stewart faces "Class X" arson charges. His bond was increased because of the threat to some two dozen residents of the building at Main and Perry.

Dave Kenny told the court police were lead to Stewart because employees at one of School’s clubs identified Stewart as having attempted to pay a tab with a credit card that was rejected.

A search of the bar’s credit card records turned up Stewart’s name and he was called to the police station for questioning. There, Kenny said, police showed Stewart surveillance video showing him with Scholl and Stewart confessed to the stabbing.

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