Crime

Hancock man from 'fire cult' case banned from firefighter work

Jones
Jones

BAY ST. LOUIS -- A former firefighter has been banned from working as a firefighter for 10 years as part of his sentence on two misdemeanor counts of arson.

Korri-Don Jones, 29, of Pearlington, is one of six firefighters arrested in early 2015 on suspicion of starting fires in Hancock County and then responding to put them out, in what investigators at the time called a "fire cult." He was working for the West Hancock Volunteer Fire Department.

Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver on Tuesday told Jones he must not work as a firefighter, whether paid or volunteer.

Carver sentenced him on guilty pleas involving two woods fires.

Carver fined him $521.50 and ordered restitution of $2,083.14. The restitution covers the costs to put out those two fires.

A grand jury in February found insufficient evidence to indict Jones on felony charges. A circuit judge sent Jones' case to the lower court for prosecution. Jones had faced felony charges of conspiracy and accessory after the fact.

A grand jury indicted three of those arrested -- Crystal Lynn Mooneyhan, 28, and Michael Spencer Smith, 26, both of Bay St. Louis; and Marie Gill, 28, of Gulfport. They were members of the Clermont Harbor Volunteer Fire Department when the fires occurred.

Trial dates were not immediately available.

West Hancock firefighter Leslie Cheramie and Clermont Harbor firefighter Orenthial "O.J." Smith were arrested but not indicted. It wasn't clear if their cases were sent to the lower court.

At least five fires were found to be suspicious. All but one involved woods or marshland. A fire Sept. 14, 2014, destroyed an abandoned house a few blocks from the Clermont Harbor fire station.

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