By T. Scott Boatright
Benjamin W. James of Ruston remained in the Lincoln Parish Detention Center on Tuesday facing charges of criminal trespassing, illegal carrying of weapons and felony damage to property.
His bond was set at $75,000.
On Saturday morning, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 3357 Highway 821 in reference to a trespassing complaint.
According to James’ arrest affidavit, the LPSO deputies made contact with both James and the property owner, who advised James did not have permission to be on the property. Video played for the deputies showed James walking around the residence and sitting on the tailgate of the owner’s vehicle.
The affidavit reports that as deputies were talking to James, it was determined he was concealing a 9mm firearm in his front pocket.
Deputies said they advised James of his Miranda rights and the weapon was seized.
The affidavit says that James was at the Highway 821 property to get away from this residence at 132 Parish Park Rd., owned by his parents. Deputies said that James said he was upset because someone had broken into that residence.
After James was transferred to the LPSO for further questioning, deputies said that did a residence check at 132 Parish Park Rd., where they observed James’ vehicle in the driveway with a window “busted out” and several items strewn on the ground, including a .40 caliber shell casing.
The affidavit said that deputies noticed an open entry door to the house upon their arrival and once inside the residence they observed damage, along with a “busted” windshield of a vehicle belonging to James’ parents. They reported finding a spent .9mm casing in the living room as well as a flat screen TV that appeared to be damaged by a gunshot as well as damaged kitchen table chairs, lamps, security code panel, thermostat panel, patio door window and wall.
Outside deputies reported finding a damaged patio table as well as landscaping believed to be damaged by the suspects vehicle.
The affidavit said that during the investigation and a check of prior reports James had shown a history of damaging property at the Parish Park residence as well as a history of meth usage.
After being advised of his Miranda rights a second time after deputies returned to the LPSO, deputies said James agreed to more questioning and admitted to doing the damage “due to him being upset.” The affidavit said that James “advised he was hearing things and felt like he was talking to ‘them.'” Deputies reported that James also admitted to using meth the previous day.
The affidavit said that the damage was “well over” $1,000 but less than $50,000.