Arabi plantation arson suspects sold Times-Picayune subscriptions


Posted on November 25, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 10:57 AM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

ARABI, La. -- A St. Bernard Parish Deputy is keeping watch over the charred remains of the LeBeau Plantation in Arabi. We are learning more about the seven men accused in the alleged arson of this parish landmark.

"They worked together, solicitation of sales and that's the type of company they worked for," said St. Bernard Sheriff Jimmy Polmann. "That was their involvement with one another."

All but one of the men arrested in connection with the crime worked for a company called Circulation Marketing, Inc. The company website lists suspect Dusten Davenport as one of the top 10 sales reps in the country.

The company's president, Richard Milne, confirms the men were working door to door, selling subscriptions to the Times-Picayune newspaper. Two of the suspects were wearing Times-Picayune polo shirts at the time of their arrest.

Milne had this to say about the arson: "This was not work related. This was on their own time. I am very shocked and upset about what happened."

Pohlmann said the men were apparently staying with a suspect who lives near the LeBeau Plantation.

"With the alcohol and marijuana they were smoking, it became rowdy inside the house," said Pohlmann. "I think one thing led to another to the point where they decided to set the house on fire."

Dusten Davenport, 31, of Fort Worth, Texas, drew the highest bond, $450,000.

Pohlmann said there's a reason why he faces more severe charges.

"Information that we collected from the other individuals, kind of point to he was likely the ring leader and it may have even been his idea to originally start the fire."

Joshua Briscoe, 20, Joseph Landin, 20 and Joshua Allen, 21, all from Grand Prairie, Texas and Jerry Hamblen, 17, from Dallas had bonds set at $350,000.

Kevin Barbe, 20 from Arabi and Byron Meek from Gretna face $75,000 bonds. As of late Monday afternoon, all of the suspects remained behind bars.

We reached out to NOLA Media Group publisher Ricky Mathews and Times-Picayune Circulation Director Phil Ehrhardt for comment on this story.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper said, "We are not taking any calls from the media."