Arson Arrests

Terry Dorsey, Kenyatta Huggins, Shamyrin Johnson

Three Baton Rouge residents accused of deliberately setting fires at four businesses amid ongoing protests were charged Thursday in federal court.

Terry Dorsey, 21, Kenyatta Huggins, 22, and Shamyrin Johnson, 22, were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit arson affecting interstate commerce and four counts of arson affecting interstate commerce.

They are accused of setting fires at four businesses between May 31 and June 1. The three had previously been booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of simple arson and criminal conspiracy. Their cases in state court are ongoing.

Dorsey remains in federal custody while Huggins and Johnson have been released pre-trial.

Brady Skinner, Dorsey's attorney, said the investigation is in its early stages, but "Terry is looking forward to his day in court." 

Attorneys Kathryn Jakuback Burke and Jacob Longman declined to comment on behalf of Huggins. Attempts to reach Mark Upton, Johnson's lawyer, were unsuccessful. 

The fires damaged Tai Industries near Siegen Lane, a Plank Road tire shop and the Airline Highway locations of AAA Tire Shop and Autozone Auto Parts.

An FBI special agent alleged in the court record that Dorsey, Huggins and Johnson made a collective decision to start the fires and did so after they attended protest on Siegen Lane against police brutality. 

The local owners who had their businesses damaged said their inventory was either obtained from or shipped to suppliers and customers in other states, according to the affidavit. Thus, federal prosecutors are raising claims the three interfered with interstate commerce. 

The federal charges could carry as much as a 40 year sentence, while the state charges could result in a 15 year sentence, the defense attorneys said. 


Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com