Charges filed in Winnsboro burning hoax - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Charges filed in Winnsboro burning hoax

Sharmeka Moffitt, 20 (Source: Facebook) Sharmeka Moffitt, 20 (Source: Facebook)
Moffitt was rushed to the Regional Burn Center at LSU Hospital back on October 21, after a 911 call brought police to Civitan Park. Moffitt was rushed to the Regional Burn Center at LSU Hospital back on October 21, after a 911 call brought police to Civitan Park.
A balloon and flowers were placed at the site of the alleged attack shortly after word began to spread. A balloon and flowers were placed at the site of the alleged attack shortly after word began to spread.
FRANKLIN PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

The Winnsboro woman who police say set herself on fire in October and reported she had been the victim of a racially-motivated attack is now facing criminal charges.

20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt was rushed to the Regional Burn Center at LSU Hospital back on October 21, after a 911 call brought police to Civitan Park.

In the call, police say Moffitt reported that she had been attacked by three men in white hoodies. State police also later confirmed that "KKK" had been smeared on the hood of Moffitt's car in a paste-like substance, with a racial slur underneath.

Moffitt allegedly told police the men doused her in a flammable liquid and set her on fire. Lewis said she extinguished the fire using water from a nearby spigot before a police officer arrived.

Word of the horrific attack spread quickly on social media, with speculation swirling that it was a hate crime that prompted the NAACP to call for a thorough investigation of the incident.

Two days later, Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas revealed that their investigation had linked Moffitt's fingerprints to a lighter and a bottle of lighter fluid found at the scene.

"The investigation (of) Ms Moffitt has revealed that this was not an attack but a self-inflicted incident that happened to her," said Chief Thomas.

Shortly after that announcement, Moffitt's family released a statement, saying, "While this was not the resolution we had expected, it is a resolution, and we appreciate the thorough investigation by the local and state police as well as federal agencies.  

We are sincerely sorry for any problems this may have caused and wish to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love, prayers and support we have received from friends, acquaintances, church organizations and government officials."

Moffitt has since been released from the hospital and returned to Winnsboro.

The results of a Louisiana State Police investigation were handed over to the Franklin Parish District Attorney's office in early March.

On Tuesday morning, Franklin Parish 5th District Attorney Mack Lancaster confirmed that his office had filed a bill of information charging Moffitt with one count of terrorizing and one count of false swearing for the purpose of violating public safety.

Lancaster says the quick action of law enforcement "kept the impact of her claims to a minimum."

"The State Police, the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Office and the Winnsboro Police did a marvelous job of investigating this crime," says Lancaster, "and the labs did a fantastic job of returning DNA and fingerprints very quickly. Thus, they avoided what could have been a very explosive situation."

Lancaster also credits the public for allowing law enforcement to do their jobs.

"I think her claims were akin to a bomb scare. It just puts the public to be sustained in fear, just a disruption to the general public, what her claims were, and I think the Franklin Parish people deserve a lot of respect for the way they handled this in waiting for law enforcement people to come up with what really happened."

Lancaster says Moffitt isn't a flight risk and won't be required to turn herself in. Bond will be set at her arraignment on April 23rd. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison, but probation is also an option.

Copyright 2013 KSLA. All rights reserved.

  • Charges filed in Winnsboro burning hoaxMore>>

  • Winnsboro burning SIDEBAR

    Related content

    Wednesday, April 3 2013 2:21 PM EDT2013-04-03 18:21:55 GMT
    Authorities: Winnsboro burn victim's fingerprints linked to lighter bottle What kind of recovery could Sharmeka Moffitt face? Burning case goes viral, rumors spread Surgery, vigil set for Winnsboro
    Authorities: Winnsboro burn victim's fingerprints linked to lighter bottle What kind of recovery could Sharmeka Moffitt face? Burning case goes viral, rumors spread Surgery, vigil set for WinnsboroMore >>
  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • 50 years later Lake Charles opens its time capsule

    Saturday, May 27 2017 12:00 AM EDT2017-05-27 04:00:18 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    On Friday Mayor Randy Roach helped pull out history - 50 years worth, to be exact.

    In 1967 a time capsule was buried in front of historic Lake Charles City Hall, and many had different ideas of what could be buried inside. 

    More >>

    On Friday Mayor Randy Roach helped pull out history - 50 years worth, to be exact.

    In 1967 a time capsule was buried in front of historic Lake Charles City Hall, and many had different ideas of what could be buried inside. 

    More >>
  • Summer reading fun underway in Calcasieu Parish

    Summer reading fun underway in Calcasieu Parish

    Friday, May 26 2017 11:02 PM EDT2017-05-27 03:02:13 GMT
    (Source: Calcasieu Parish Public Library)(Source: Calcasieu Parish Public Library)

    The Calcasieu Parish Public Library annual summer reading program is underway. The kick-off celebration was held at Prien Lake Park. It included registration, face painting, kite flying, bird house building and even Clifford the Big Red Dog. The reading program runs from now until July 7.

    More >>

    The Calcasieu Parish Public Library annual summer reading program is underway. The kick-off celebration was held at Prien Lake Park. It included registration, face painting, kite flying, bird house building and even Clifford the Big Red Dog. The reading program runs from now until July 7.

    More >>
  • Parents of Gage Meche suing man they blame for gun being brought to school

    Parents of Gage Meche suing man they blame for gun being brought to school

    Friday, May 26 2017 10:18 PM EDT2017-05-27 02:18:02 GMT
    Gage Meche (Source: Facebook)Gage Meche (Source: Facebook)

    Gage Meche has thousands of people rooting for him and a family spokesman says it means a lot.  But attorney Ron Richard says the child's parents want action against the man they believe is responsible, they're suing Michael Lane Dugas.. “They are on a roller coaster of emotions:  anger, sadness, fear, angst and wanting to feel like they're doing something about this matter. 

    More >>

    Gage Meche has thousands of people rooting for him and a family spokesman says it means a lot.  But attorney Ron Richard says the child's parents want action against the man they believe is responsible, they're suing Michael Lane Dugas.. “They are on a roller coaster of emotions:  anger, sadness, fear, angst and wanting to feel like they're doing something about this matter. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly