James W. Bennett

Councilman arrested for 2nd time in six months

A St. Mary Parish councilman has been arrested for the second time in about six months in related incidents.

James W. Bennett, 50, of Sixth Street in Morgan City, was arrested at 5:14 p.m. Wednesday on a warrant alleging that he was stalking a Berwick woman, Berwick Police Chief David Leonard Sr. said in a news release.

Bennett serves as a St. Mary Parish councilman for District 7.

The warrant stems from an investigation that began Feb. 1 in which a complaint was received concerning him stalking a woman who lives in the Berwick area. Upon officers investigating the complaint, police learned that Bennett was in fact responsible for the behavior associated with stalking, Leonard said.

Further investigation revealed that he used resources to gain knowledge of who was visiting with the victim and later confront the victim, the chief said.

Bennett was booked into the Berwick jail and later released on $20,000 bail. He was later transported to the Morgan City jail due to active warrants that Morgan City Police Department held for his arrest associated with this investigation.

Morgan City Police Chief James Blair confirmed that Bennett was booked on two counts of criminal mischief in connection with the case. The charges stem from evidence Morgan City police gathered indicating that false complaints had been called into the Morgan City Police Department, Blair said.

Bennett said shortly after 8:30 a.m. Thursday that he had no comment on the charges against him yet, but he was going to speak with his attorney to release a statement later Thursday morning.

Berwick police confirmed that Bennett’s Wednesday arrest is related to a prior arrest last year.

Bennett had previously been arrested by Berwick police July 31, 2018, on a charge of remaining after being forbidden.

At that time, then-Berwick Police Chief James Richard said a resident contacted police to say that he went back in a home where he had been told not to be. There were no reports of injury or damage connected to that incident, Richard said. In that incident, Bennett was arrested at a home on Fourth Street.

After that arrest, Bennett characterized the incident as “a big misunderstanding.”

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