LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was a fire that upset so many in the Lake area-- the blaze that destroyed Shiver Me Timbers Millennium Park. And the community was even more shocked when they learned it was ruled arson.
Seth Arceneaux is on trial for simple arson. The jury was picked and opening statements made today. Testimony gets underway in the morning before Judge Clayton Davis.
It was a Sunday morning, January 9th when word began to spread throughout the Lake area, that Millennium Park had gone up in flames. It was heartbreaking for so many, because the park had been community project, built by many different people--volunteers working side by side. And then came the next shock-- investigators concluded it was arson. Said T.A. Jones, who was a top fire official back then. "We just to need to make sure we find who did this and if anyone knows any information please contact us."
Within two weeks a suspect was arrested. Said Police Chief Don Dixon, "Seth Arceneaux age 17, was arrested and charged with a single count of simple arson."
Now, a year and four months later, the park has been rebuilt and Arceneaux, now 18, is on trial for simple arson. He's accused of intentionally setting the fire.
Prosecutor Jonathan Blake told jurors it was a cold, windy night and that Arceneaux was involved in carving names in the equipment and then tried to use a lighter to remove the names. Blake says Arceneaux's actions will reveal the criminal intent necessary to convict him of simple arson.
If convicted, Arceneaux could be sent to prison for up to fifteen years and pay a fine of up to fifteen thousand dollars.
The testimony gets underway at 9 a.m. Tuesday. There are only about ten witnesses and trial is expected to wrap up tomorrow.