The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry:
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said Judge Martha O'Neal of the 36th Judicial Court sentenced a 33-year-old Beauregard Parish man Nov. 5 to 15 years at hard labor for simple arson.
John L. Parks, 368 Burgin Road, Starks, pleaded guilty to five counts of simple arson and was sentenced to three years on each count.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry arson investigators arrested Parks on May 18 for setting fires on Hancock Forest Products and Crest Natural Resources timber property. The fires burned 145 acres of timberland off Barrow Loop Road near Fields in Beauregard Parish and caused an estimated $42,000 in losses.
The sentences, to be served concurrently, were suspended pending the completion of three years supervised probation.
Other terms of the probation include paying a $2,000 fine and court costs, serving 60 days in Beauregard Parish Jail, completing a mental health evaluation and making restitution to the victims.
"Our forestry enforcement officers will thoroughly investigate every case of arson and forestry theft," Strain said. "Woods arson is a very serious crime."
Strain advised reporting any forestry related crime issues to the LDAF by calling 225-925-4500 or 800-558-9741. Strain said the toll free number can also be used for livestock or farm equipment theft.
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