FRANKLINTON, La. (WGNO) — A Washington Parish man has been found guilty of trying to burn down a home in 2020, supposedly as part of a retaliation plan following a murder.
District Attorney Warren Montgomery says 25-year-old Mardeontae Lee of Franklinton was found guilty on Thursday (March 9) of three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson.
The incident dates back to June of 2020 when a woman called the Franklinton Police Department, telling detectives that two men were pouring gasoline along the outside of her home. The woman, along with her daughter and great-grandson were all inside the home at the time.
Although the family had left by the time police arrived, one of the responding officers reported seeing a small flame. A partially-burned piece of paper had been found around a small patch of grass that had also been burned.
A review of security footage showed two men pouring the fuel, one of them a minor who was later questioned by police. The teen identified the man he was with as Lee, and told police he only went with Lee “because he was bored.”
Lee was later arrested. The DA said in Lee’s interview with police, he originally denied involvement but later wanted to change his statement after detectives asked for a DNA sample.
When questioned by police for the second time, Lee reportedly told officers that his gang leader ordered him to ignite the house when people were home. According to Lee, the leader told him that the gang had been paid for the arson. Lee then told officers that he didn’t want to set fire to the home and only poured gas on the concrete areas he knew would not catch fire.
It was later determined by detectives that the attack was retaliation for a murder that had happened earlier that June. The woman who called the police was the mother of a man accused of killing someone else, however, the man had already been jailed for the charge.
During the trial that wrapped up last week, the victims reported feeling “sheer terror” for fear that they would be burned alive in their own home.
We’re told Lee could face up to 100 years in prison without parole for the arson attack. His sentencing date is scheduled for April 24.