Oct 30, 2013 12:36 PM by Ian Auzenne
The owner of an Evangeline Parish restaurant is wanted on arson charges in a connection with a July fire at his establishment.
The State Fire Marshal's Office has issued a warrant for for John Deville, Jr., on the charges of arson with intent to defraud, criminal conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. According to deputy marshal Brant Thompson, Deville is currently out of the state. Deville is accused of having a hand in the July 21 blaze that destroyed the Rendezvous Dinner Club near Ville Platte. The venue, which stood for more than 50 years, hosted many famous swamp pop and rock musicians during its days as a night club.
Thompson says that law enforcement and Deville are working to arrange Deville's surrender.
A second suspect, Eric Johnson, was arrested in August in connection with the fire. Johnson, who investigators say was an employee at the restaurant and a close confidant of Deville, was originally charged with simple arson. Officials say they have now tacked on four more charges--arson with intent to defraud, injury by arson, criminal conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.
If convicted, Deville faces approximately more than 12 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines. If Johnson is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 50 years in jail and up to $60,000 in fines.