CHURCH BURGLARIES SOLVED

LaSalle Parish Sheriff Scott Franklin has announced that two Jena men have been arrested and a third is being sought for the recent crime spree of burglaries of churches in LaSalle Parish over the past three months.

Late last week, the sheriff’s office arrested Michael Chandler Boyd, II, 33, of Jena, and Brandon Clark, 21, of Jena, in connection with the burglaries. The third suspect, Lewis Hayes, Jr. 46, of Jena, is still at large with warrants issued for his arrest.

Boyd was charged with 6 counts of burglary of a religious building and 4 counts of criminal conspiracy to commit burglary of a religious building.

Clark was charged with 4 counts of burglary of a religious building and 4 counts of criminal conspiracy to commit burglary of a religious building. Hayes is facing the same charges as Clark.

The sheriff said after months of intense investigation and pursuing various leads, the case culminated quickly on Tuesday of last week when a tip led them to examine Boyd more closely.

“Our team of investigators have been working night and day, literally, to solve this case and once the dominoes started to fall, they fell quickly,” he said. “Investigators have determined that all of the Jena area churches that have been burglarized over the past three months were committed by these three individuals.”

Franklin noted that evidence of the burglaries was discovered at Boyd’s residence near Jena last Wednesday and his confession implicated Clark and Hayes in the crimes.

The first church to be burglarized in LaSalle Parish was Olla Apostalic Church on June 17, followed by Jena First Baptist Church on June 18. In mid-to-late July Shady Grove United Pentecostal Church and Sanctuary Family Worship Center were burglarized followed by the three most recent burglaries of Trinity Baptist Church, Temple Baptist Church, and Nolley Memorial Methodist Church in August. The sheriff said the three are charged with the burglaries of the Jena area churches while the one in Olla is still under investigation.

If convicted, Boyd faces a possible maximum hard labor prison sentence of 120 years on the 10 counts he is charged with and at least 20 of those years must be served without suspension of sentence, according to the Louisiana statue.

Clark and Hayes are facing a possible maximum hard labor prison sentence of 96 years with at least 16 of those years having to be served without suspension of sentence on the 8 counts they are charged with.

The LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office continues to work with the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office to help solve their church burglaries as well.

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