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>>

  • Advice for safe and savvy shopping during the holiday rush

    Advice for safe and savvy shopping during the holiday rush

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 7:14 PM EST2017-11-23 00:14:28 GMT

    While some tend to the turkey, many are revving up their engines to begin marathon shopping to gather up all the holiday bargains. We talked to law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau for tips on staying safe and shopping smart. traffic is already picking up at the mall where some shoppers are trying to get a jump on the Christmas rush.  starting Friday the Calcasieu sheriff's department command center at Prien lake mall will be staffed.  captain Craig bean says th...

    More >>

    While some tend to the turkey, many are revving up their engines to begin marathon shopping to gather up all the holiday bargains. We talked to law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau for tips on staying safe and shopping smart. traffic is already picking up at the mall where some shoppers are trying to get a jump on the Christmas rush.  starting Friday the Calcasieu sheriff's department command center at Prien lake mall will be staffed.  captain Craig bean says th...

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Temperatures will be below normal through Friday with frost possible

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Temperatures will be below normal through Friday with frost possible

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 4:49 PM EST2017-11-22 21:49:23 GMT
    Sunny and nice for Thanksgiving!!!Sunny and nice for Thanksgiving!!!

    The next few days will be rather chilly with temperatures below normal for this time of year!  A warming trend begins this weekend, but the weather still looks great for anything outdoors.  Temperatures will fall rapidly this evening with lows by Thursday morning ranging from the upper 20s north of I-10 to the low 40s at the coast.  The wind may not calm entirely and that might keep frost from becoming widespread north of I-10. 

    More >>

    The next few days will be rather chilly with temperatures below normal for this time of year!  A warming trend begins this weekend, but the weather still looks great for anything outdoors.  Temperatures will fall rapidly this evening with lows by Thursday morning ranging from the upper 20s north of I-10 to the low 40s at the coast.  The wind may not calm entirely and that might keep frost from becoming widespread north of I-10. 

    More >>
  • Lake Charles Job Fair Dec. 1

    Lake Charles Job Fair Dec. 1

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 12:49 PM EST2017-11-22 17:49:47 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    The Calcasieu Business & Career Solutions Center will host a job fair from 9 a.m.-noon Friday, Dec. 1, at the center’s Elcie Guillory Room, 2424 Third St., in Lake Charles. 

    More >>

    The Calcasieu Business & Career Solutions Center will host a job fair from 9 a.m.-noon Friday, Dec. 1, at the center’s Elcie Guillory Room, 2424 Third St., in Lake Charles. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly