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Attorney investigated after house fire

Hagadone News Network | April 16, 2010 9:00 PM

Copyright: Bonner County Daily Bee

VAY - A Bonner County attorney awaiting trial in a federal tax fraud case is being investigated for attempted murder, arson and molestation after his home was destroyed by a fire last month.

David Charles Jacquot was arrested on a federal warrant on March 16 for violating the terms of his conditional release in the tax fraud case, according to U.S. District Court records.

Jacquot's arrest followed a March 11 fire at his Bandy Road home. The investigation uncovered a cache of firearms, including a 40-millimeter grenade launcher, the federal warrant said.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said Jacquot is suspected of molesting his adopted daughter from Kazakhstan.

"Mr. Jacquot is a suspect in the child molestation," said Marshall.

Marshall declined to confirm if Jacquot is suspected of the other crimes.

However, federal court documents indicate the Bonner County Sheriff's Office is investigating Jacquot for arson, attempted murder and insurance fraud in connection with the early morning structure fire.

Jacquot, 47, was held briefly at the Bonner County Jail and then transferred to federal custody, Marshall said.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Prisons Web site listed Jacquot as an inmate at a facility in SeaTac, Wash., on Tuesday. He was not listed as an inmate at any federal institution on Thursday.

Jacquot is due in U.S. District Court in San Diego on May 10 for a status conference in his tax fraud case, records show.

It was unclear if Jacquot has legal counsel representing him in the Idaho matters. Jacquot's defense counsel in the tax case, Michael Crowley of San Diego, could not be reached after hours on Thursday. E-mail and phone messages were not immediately returned.

The adopted daughter, who is in her late teens, disclosed the molestation to authorities on March 3, said Gordon Hodge, who is the cousin of David Jacquot's wife, Ann.

Hodge said the teen told him David Jacquot had been molesting her since the age of 13, shortly after she arrived in the country.

"I had suspected that for years, but never had gotten any proof," said Hodge, who contacted Bonner County sheriff's officials about the teen's disclosures to him on March 8.

Three days later, Hodge said he received a frantic phone call from his cousin, who said she escaped the burning home, but that David Jacquot could not be found and feared he was dead. The couple's biological son, Nate, had also escaped the blaze.

Hodge said the couple's adopted daughter had been staying at the home of friends when the fire broke out.

Hodge, who ended up going to the scene of the fire, said a firefighter later encountered David Jacquot, who had a hand injury and seemed unable to speak.

"They found him wandering around, dazed and confused," said Hodge.

Bonner Dispatch records indicate the fire was called in at 1:17 a.m.

When the sun rose, Hodge said he discovered an array of peculiar items strewn about near an outbuilding directly across the driveway from the home and took photos of them.

The photographs show a flashlight on a utility trailer, a walkie talkie, a broken pair of eyeglasses Hodge said belong to David Jacquot, blood smears on doors leading to the shed and a small trail of blood. There were also spent .22-caliber casings and live 9-mm rounds.

The photos also show the barrel and slide of a Glock, in addition to the semiautomatic pistol's loaded magazine. Hodge said a fire truck had apparently run over the weapon during the chaos from the fire.

Hodge said he also discovered the circuit breaker to the well had been shut off. He doubts the fire tripped the breaker because it's separate from the home's electrical system and the switch was fully engaged in the off position instead of a tripped position. A usually open dog door had also been secured, he said.

Hodge, who used to live in another dwelling on the property, said David Jacquot kept a vast array of weaponry and ammunition in both homes. Hodge said the homes were connected by an underground passage.

A condition of his release in the tax case forbid Jacquot from possessing firearms, although that condition was later modified, according to federal court records.

"He had petitioned the judge in his case to let him have a gun to protect livestock from predators. And instead of having a gun, he had an arsenal of guns. He had so many bullets the police didn't count them - they weighed 'em," said Hodge.

Documents in the federal case indicate David Jacquot was found to be in possession of a Glock 9-mm with an obliterated serial number and more than 40 other weapons, including the grenade launcher.