Man Facing Multiple Charges Returned to LaSalle Parish from Anchorage, Alaska
A 39-year-old Jena, LA, man, who faces eight felony timber theft charges, has been returned to LaSalle Parish from Alaska. James Marcus “Mark” Ainsworth had fled, with his family, to AK to seemingly avoid prosecution, and is now facing an additional charge of felony theft, according to LaSalle Sheriff Scott Franklin. The Sheriff said Ainsworth is now being held under a new $1-million bond set in 28th Judicial District Court.
Ainsworth, of 254 Joiner Road in Jena, who left LaSalle Parish pulling a U-Haul trailer loaded with his family’s belongings, was believed to be headed for the Canadian border in an effort to avoid prosecution in LaSalle and Catahoula Parishes for timber theft. LaSalle authorities later learned that Ainsworth stopped in Illinois and rented a storage building for the family’s belongings, then boarded a commercial flight to Anchorage, Alaska. A warrant was issued for an additional felony theft charge and an APB was issued for his arrest.
Ainsworth turned himself in to Anchorage police and Franklin sent a deputy sheriff to Alaska to escort him back to LaSalle Parish. They returned to Jena on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
Ainsworth was under bonds totaling over $200,000 from the 28th Judicial District Court in LaSalle, and 7th Judicial District Court in Catahoula, on the eight timber theft charges. Additional bond will be set for the latest felony theft charge.
Ainsworth was originally arrested in September 2014 by forestry agents with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) and booked into the LaSalle Parish Jail on one count of felony timber theft of more than $10,400.
He was arrested again by forestry investigators on October 2, 2014, in LaSalle Parish for an additional count of felony timber theft of more than $28,000.
On October 31, 2014, Ainsworth was arrested again for two additional counts of timber theft in Catahoula parish, totaling nearly $29,000, and again on November 24, 2014, for two counts of felony timber theft in LaSalle Parish totaling nearly $12,500.
Finally, on December 19, 2014, Ainsworth was arrested for the fourth time by forestry agents and booked into the LaSalle Parish Jail on two more counts of felony timber theft, totaling just over $14,600.
LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., stated, “Our investigators found that Ainsworth cut the timber with the landowner’s permission and that he was paid promptly for the timber. No scale tickets, settlement sheets or loader’s log were ever received by any of the landowners as required under state law. The landowners simply received a check for a fraction of what they were promised.”