Ex-parish president’s sons accused in storage container fire
LIVINGSTON — The two sons of former Livingston Parish President Mike Grimmer pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to breaking into a storage container in Grimmer’s backyard in late June and setting fire to his wife’s property.
John Grimmer, 33, and Aaron Grimmer, 31, of Walker, pleaded not guilty to simple arson and simple burglary in front of Judge Brenda Ricks of the 21st Judicial District Court in Livingston.
John and Aaron Grimmer made their pleas without an attorney.
Mike Grimmer attended his sons’ arraignment. The Grimmers declined comment when approached outside the courthouse.
Authorities arrested the two Grimmers on June 29 and booked them into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on one count each of simple arson and simple burglary.
John Grimmer also was booked with discharging a firearm within city limits after he allegedly used a handgun to try to break the container’s lock, Walker police have said. He did not face arraignment on that count Wednesday.
Firefighters arrived at Mike Grimmer’s house at 13246 Pendarvis Lane and found a metal storage container behind his house on fire, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning has said.
The fire damaged furniture and other household items inside the container that belonged to Mike Grimmer’s wife.
No utilities were connected to the container, so investigators ruled out the possibility of an electrical fire and suspected arson as the cause, Browning has said.
After the fire was extinguished, Walker police returned to collect evidence and confronted the brothers, both of whom admitted setting the fire, Walker police have said.
Browning has said investigators believe Mike Grimmer did not know about the arson plot nor had anything to do with the fire.
The brothers were upset with Mike Grimmer’s wife, who is not their mother, Browning has said.
Browning said Wednesday that John and Aaron Grimmer admitted to investigators that they caused the fire, which is what led to their arrests.
The incident came about a month after Mike Grimmer was arrested and booked with misdemeanor domestic abuse battery on May 31 after an alleged altercation with his wife.
Walker police received a call from Janet Grimmer about a domestic disturbance at the Grimmers’ home. Police found broken items in the house and Janet Grimmer said her husband had forcibly removed her from a room.
Mike Grimmer did not deny the accusation and was determined to be the aggressor, police have said.
Grimmer is set for a Nov. 5 hearing in Walker Municipal Court in that case.
Mike Grimmer served two terms as Livingston Parish president from 2004 to 2011, when he lost a bitter election battle to current Parish President Layton Ricks.
Prior to that, Grimmer served as elected mayor of Walker from 1988 to 2004 after being named to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Albert Pendarvis.