Savoy found guilty in Spring Bayou tree-cutting case

of criminal damage over $500 instead of over $50,000

   Keith Savoy, charged with the criminal damage of state property in the cutting of over 100 trees in the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area, was found guilty by a 12th Judicial District Court jury Wednesday of criminal damage of property valued at over $500. 

   He was charged with criminal damage of property valued at over $50,000.  He will be sentenced by 12th Judicial District Judge William Bennett at a later date.

    Defense attorney Mark Jeansonne said he and his client were pleased with "this fair verdict."

   "District Attorney Charles Riddle and Assistant D.A. Tony Salario are difficult opponents and made us work very hard," Jeansonne said, "but we can accept this fairer verdict and move on." Jeansonne said the jury agreed with the defense position that the property damage was less than the $50,000 to $100,000 that state officials had estimated.

    About 100 trees were cut down in the Spring Bayou area in December 2014, apparently to restrict access to favored hunting sites. Some of the trees destroyed reportedly included 100-year-old cypress trees.