Three of four men arrested in connection with a Sibley arson in August have been arraigned.
William Adkins, 19, was arraigned on the charge of simple burglary. Representing Adkins is Joseph Kendra. Original charges by Sibley police include simple arson, conspiracy to commit arson, simple burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.
Ronald Samuel Hightower, 17, was arraigned on the charge of simple burglary. He is represented by Eric Johnson. Original charges include simple arson, conspiracy to commit arson, simple burglary, conspiracy to commit simple burglary and theft over $500.
Shelton Layfield Jr., 24, was arraigned on the charge of simple burglary. He is represented by Tristan Gilley. Original charges include simple arson, conspiracy to commit simple arson, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.
Cory Gordon, 23, was arrested in connection with the case, but no information regarding his court date was available as of press time.
Status conference for all three is set for Dec. 11, with trial set for Jan. 25, 2016. Assistant district attorney Hugo Holland will prosecute the cases.
Sibley police chief Jeremy Robinson says the Sibley Fire Department was called to a Tharpe Lane residence in reference to a fire in August. He says immediately they suspected arson as the house had been vacant for a long period of time with no electricity.
“It happened around 10:30 at night,” he said at the time of their arrest. “The fire department got called out to 154 Tharpe Lane. We were investigating some shoplifting at Dollar General and got some information on the same individuals that we were looking for on the shoplifting may be responsible for the house fire and also another break-in and vandalism of a residence.”
During interviews at the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Robinson says the four admitted to all three incidents.
They admitted to being responsible for a break-in and vandalism of a home on SE 1st Street, he said.
“They admitted to vandalizing it by spray-painting cabinets and countertops and the refrigerator,” he said. “They were also responsible for the house fire.”
He says they admitted to breaking into the house across the street from where they were living, which was for sale.
“Three of them were living together at one time,” Robinson said. “They broke into the house across the street and then went and set the house (on Tharpe Lane) on fire.”
Hightower, Layfield and Adkins were arrested Monday, Aug. 17, and Gordon was arrested Tuesday, Aug. 18. All four were arrested at the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office following questioning on the incidents.