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Gonzales arson leaves one suspect dead, second suspect clinging to life

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GONZALES - Investigators in Ascension Parish say one suspect is dead and another is clinging to life following an act of recent arson that destroyed a Gonzales home.

On the night of Friday, Aug. 14, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a fire at a residence on Tom Miles Road near its intersection with LA Hwy 941 and found the house fully engulfed in flames when they arrived at the scene.

Witnesses told deputies that two men, one of them described as "being on fire", ran from the area of the residence before authorities arrived. Witnesses went on to describe how the men got into a light-colored, 4-door sedan and quickly fled the scene.

APSO requested help from the State Fire Marshal's Office as they began to conduct an investigation into the house fire. State Fire Marshal investigators determined that the fire had been set on purpose, describing the multiple points of origin found in the rear of the structure to be an indicator to arson.

On Saturday, investigators learned that two men had been taken to the burn unit of Baton Rouge General after earlier being treated at a hospital in Gretna. While receiving the earlier treatment, officials had been falsely informed that the men were injured as they were trying to burn a pile of discarded tires.

The two men - 68-year-old Joel Morrison, of Marrero, and his nephew, 28-year-old Larry Morrison, Jr., of New Orleans, - are now suspects in the Gonzales arson. Deputies said both men have extensive criminal records.

Earlier Tuesday, investigators were informed by staff at Baton Rouge General that the younger man had died as a result of injuries sustained from the fire. They were also told that Joel Morrison remains in critical condition.

Anyone with informed concerning the arson is urged to contact the State Fire Marshal's Arson Tip Line at 1-800-256-5452.


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