Two Charged in East Alabama Church Fires

Two Smiths, Ala., men have been charged on arson and burglary charges in connection with three church fires that occurred since Jan 1, State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk announced Monday.

Geoffrey Parquette, 21, was charged with two counts of arson second degree and burglary third degree in Russell County and a matching single count in Lee County. Parquette was charged also with criminal mischief first degree and burglary third degree in regard to vandalism at the Concord Baptist Church near Smiths.

James Clark, 21, was charged with single counts of arson second degree and burglary in Lee County.

Both men are being held in the Russell County Jail. Clark will be transferred to the Lee County Detention Facility.

Paulk was joined by Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell and Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones at the news conference to announce the arrests.

The first fire was Jan. 1 at the Greater Peace and Goodwill AME Church in the Crawford community in Russell County. The second fire occurred on Jan. 3 at the Greater Bethelpore Baptist Church in Smiths, which is in Lee County. The third fire was set on Jan. 4 at the Woodland Baptist Church in the Ladonia community in Russell County.

Source: Alabama Department of Insurance