Four in La. Accused of Torching Apartment for Insurance

July 19, 2007

A 26-year-old woman has been accused of hiring men to set fire to her public housing apartment in Reserve, La., for $20,000 in insurance.

After the men allegedly torched two other apartments by mistake, the renter hired someone else who burned her duplex apartment, investigators said.

“They set the wrong building on fire,” said Donald Carter, arson supervisor for the state fire marshal’s office. “After setting that fire, they tried again, and got the apartment next door to her apartment.”

After that, Carter said, someone else set fire to the apartment where Niasha King and her six children lived. The three fires occurred in early March in the Reserve Oaks public housing complex.

Bond was set at $80,000 for King, who was booked with criminal conspiracy to commit arson, and two counts of arson with intent to defraud.

She allegedly hired B.J. Brown, 17, Orlando Brown, 25, and Joseph Pierre, 19.

B.J. Brown, the only other person booked with conspiracy, also was booked with simple arson and arson with intent to defraud. His bond was set at $80,000.

Orlando Brown’s bond was set at $80,500 on two counts of simple arson and criminal damage to property. Pierre was booked on one count of simple arson, and his bond set at $40,000.

No one was home when King’s apartment burned. It was destroyed, but the fire did not spread to the other apartment, which was vacant.

The March fires came on the heels of a string of arsons at the Reserve and LaPlace public housing complexes. Two of the buildings in the Reserve complex are scheduled for demolition because of fire damage.

Information from: The Times-Picayune,

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