Man suspected of murdering ex-girlfriend's father, burning down his house arrested

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A Zachary man has been arrested for allegedly breaking in to his ex-girlfriend's father's house, robbing him, murdering him, and then burning his house down.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office homicide detectives arrested James Henry Rivers, 34, of Zachary, Monday in connection with the break-in, which occurred back in December of 2016. Rivers is charged with first degree murder, second degree robbery, false imprisonment, simple arson, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and obstruction of justice.

Officials believe Rivers broke into the victim's home, bound him with wire, stole his cellphone and dog, and caused him injuries that resulted in his death. It is also believe that following the murder, Rivers set fire to the victim's home to destroy the evidence.

On December 31, 2016, around 4 a.m., EBR deputies responded to the fire at 7956 S Hendricks Dr. The badly burned remains of a man were found inside the home. An autopsy, performed by the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office, revealed the victim's wrists were bound with wire and the cause of death was due to blunt force trauma.

DNA analysis performed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab identified the victim as David Allen, 53.

After speaking with the victim's daughter, she informed police she was involved in a romantic relationship with Rivers for approximately two years prior to her father's death. She also said Rivers was mentally and physically abusive, and committed various property crimes against her, as well as made threats to kill her if she ended the relationship.

Allen's daughter and Rivers were living together in Pride until the night before the homicide. The daughter stated she ended the relationship on December 30. Officials say she discarded the cellphone she believed Rivers was using to track her at her father's home. Based on evidence discovered, detectives believe Rivers went to Allen's home looking for his daughter.

The daughter says on December 30, she received a series of messages from Rivers from a social media account, one of which contained a photo of Allen's bedroom. Another message contained a photo of Allen's dog. Officials say Rivers did not have permission from Allen to enter the home or take the dog. Officials say Rivers later admitted to Allen's daughter that he went to the home and stole the dog in an attempt to make contact with her. Rivers later released the dog in the parking lot of the motel where Allen's daughter had been staying after she did not contact Rivers.

Detectives obtained a warrant to Rivers' arrest based on the above evidence, as well as witness statements and electronic evidence. Homicide detectives arrested Rivers on Monday, January 30 in the parking lot at 7201 Winnbourne Ave.

He will be transported to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and booked accordingly.

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