Monday, January 21, 2019

Final suspect arrested in scheme to burn house for insurance

Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 | Views: 4501

Final suspect arrested in scheme to burn house for insurance
From Louisiana State Fire Marshal:
WALKER (Jan. 5, 2019)- The fifth suspect in a two-year long arson investigation out of Livingston Parish is now behind bars.

Following a tip about her whereabouts, State Fire Marshal deputies located 39-year-old Tabatha Bankston in the Wisner area on Friday, January 4. She was subsequently booked into the Franklin Parish Jail as a fugitive from Livingston Parish. Bankston is pending extradition to the Livingston Parish Jail where she will be booked on one count of Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Simple Arson.

In August, the SFM arrested four others for conspiring to burn down a large home, belonging to one of the suspects, in Walker.
• Jerry Avants, Sr. of Walker, 55, was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on one count of Arson with the Intent to Defraud
• Adrian Lee Everett of Prairieville, 42, was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on one count each of Simple Arson and Arson with the Intent to Defraud
• Tammy Bankston Everett of Prairieville, 42, was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on one count of Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Simple Arson
• Herman Severio of Walker, 73, was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on one count each of Arson with the Intent to Defraud and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

In the early morning hours of July 17, 2016, the SFM was requested by Livingston Parish Fire District #6 to assist with determining the origin and cause of a structure fire in the 34000 block of Weiss Road.
The home, belonging to Avants was a 6,700 sq. ft. structure. The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire as Avants was out of town.
Investigators found several areas of origin throughout the heavily damaged home and eventually deemed the cause as incendiary. However, investigators also found the contents of the home were out of the ordinary, as there were no photos, as well as minimal clothing and food.

Through interviews with witnesses, it was learned that Avants had made comments just prior to the fire about the large insurance policy he had on the home and having someone burn the home down.
In an interview with investigators following the arrests, Everett confessed to setting the fire for Avants, who was a longtime friend and occasional employer of Everett’s, in order to receive a part of the insurance payout. Everett told investigators all five suspects worked together to stage the home, but he lit the fire.