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Brehaut sentenced, avoids prison

The man charged with setting fire to his family’s iconic seafood restaurant pleaded guilty in Lamar superior court Thursday. Stephen Neal Brehaut, 39, pleaded guilty to first degree arson and insurance fraud. He admitted setting the fire and trying to profit from insurance proceeds. Investigator Mark Barry of the Lamar County sheriff’s office confirmed Brehaut was captured setting the restaurant ablaze on his own security camera system. “The video showed him trying to set the fire four times. The fourth time it went up,” Barry testified. The other co-owners of the Lighthouse pleaded with Judge Tommy Wilson to spare Brehaut jail. His aunt, Sherry Wise, and sister, Elizabeth Brehaut, said Stephen Brehaut was under the immense pressure of running a failing business and was dealing with the death of his mother. Judge Tommy Wilson, whose family also owned a seafood restaurant for years, agreed. “The only reason you are not going to prison is because Miss Sherry Wise asked for it,” the judge said. Brehaut was sentenced to 20 years probation, $100,000 restitution to Wise and restaurant creditors, $9,000 restitution to Lamar County for the cost of fighting the blaze and $241 restitution to the City of Milner for the water expense it incurred due to the firefighting effort.

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