Convicted arsonist pleads guilty in new arson cases

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Photo of William Wise provided by the State Fire Marshall

A convicted arsonist from Baton Rouge pled guilty on Wednesday in two new arson cases investigated by State Fire Marshall’s Office (SFM) in 2019.

William Wise, 60, plead guilty on two counts of Simple Arson and sentenced to ten years for each case.

“This is a serial arsonist that I’m glad we have taken off the streets once again,” said State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning, who personally assisted in this investigation. “I want to thank the community for their cooperation in this case as well as the fire, law enforcement and judicial agencies that partnered with our office to fully close this case so quickly for the safety of the community.”

On Sept. 19, 2019, the West Baton Rouge Fire Protection District contacted the SFM to assist in the investigation of burned piles of timber located in a field off of Hwy. 1 in Port Allen. Witnesses saw a man approach the timber just before the fire started. The details provided by these witnesses matched the description of a suspect wanted in an arson investigation from three days prior in the 2700 block of Charles Dr. in Port Allen. In this case, a pile of tires was burnt behind a building. Wise was identified as a suspect.

Upon further investigation, deputies learned Wise had been convicted three times for arson in the past. In Dec. 2011, Wise set a fire at Mike Anderson’s restaurant in Baton Rouge. SFM located and arrested Wise in Baton Rouge. Wise was charged with two counts of Simple Arson and one count of Criminal Trespass and one count of Failure to Register as an Arson Offender.

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