Edna man pleads guilty to setting family's business on fire

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Jan. 14, 2013 at 9:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.

An Edna man pleaded guilty Monday to setting his family's feed store in downtown Edna on fire in 2010.

Freddie Norwood Tarver II also pleaded guilty to theft, theft of service and hindering secured creditors.

He is set to be sentenced July 22.

Tarver is expected to receive a 16-year prison sentence for the arson causing bodily injury charge based on a plea deal he and his attorney, Tali Villafranca, struck with Jackson County Criminal District Attorney Bobby Bell.

Villafranca could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Bell said Tarver was charged with arson causing bodily injury after a firefighter was hurt while extinguishing the fire July 1, 2010.

During the investigation, officers discovered the fire was intentionally set, Bell said.

"There is an office that is located a considerable distance from the warehouse, and the office had hay all over the chairs, the desk and the computers," Bell said. "There's no way for the hay to get in there, so that was pretty easy."

Tarver is also expected to be sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to writing a $50,000 hot check to his former attorney, Bell said.

Tarver is also expected to receive two-year sentences in state jail for the theft and each of the creditor charges, the maximum punishment allowed. All will be served concurrently, Bell said.

Tarver pleaded guilty to the theft of animal health products and merchandise, valued between $1,500 and $20,000, from Nelson Wholesale Services, Inc. on June 18, 2010.

Tarver also pleaded guilty to each of the hindering secured creditors charges spanning from 2008 to 2009 listed in the 11 indictments.

Bell said Tarver sold cattle used as collateral before paying off his debt.

"He has to pay restitution to everybody that received any economic loss," Bell said. "I think justice was served both ways."



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