Southern Pines arsonist sentenced

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Petal man who once took care of caged animals at Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg will now be caged himself.

Ricky Pierce pleaded guilty to one count of second degree arson and two counts of burglary for the December fire at Southern Pines, where he was an employee.

For the crimes, Pierce was sentenced to 15 years, 7 of which will be suspended. He was also ordered to pay more than $74,000 in fines and restitution.

Investigators say Pierce tried to cover up the burglary at the shelter's business office by setting it on fire. Stolen from the office were surveillance cameras and equipment. Four cats also died in that fire.

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