Louisiana man convicted of trying to burn family alive in retaliation for alleged murder
03/14/2023 12:04 pm PDT
FRANKLINTON, La. (TCD) -- A 25-year-old man faces up to 100 years in prison after a jury unanimously found him guilty of trying to burn down a family’s home in 2020.
In June 2020, the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office said an individual called the Franklinton Police Department to report that two people were pouring gasoline around the outside of her home. There were reportedly three people inside the home at the time: the homeowner, her daughter, and her great-grandson.
By the time officers arrived on scene, the two suspects had fled, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Upon arrival, the initial responding officer reportedly noticed a "small flame," and authorities found a partially burned piece of paper near a "patch of burned grass and took a soil sample."
Using surveillance footage, authorities identified a juvenile suspect, who told investigators he was pouring the gasoline with Mardeontae Lee. According to the District Attorney’s Office, the minor suspect said he only went with Lee "because he was bored."
Lee was reportedly taken into custody and interviewed. He initially denied the allegations, but after he was asked for an DNA sample, he changed his statement and said that he had been "ordered by the leader of his gang to burn the house down when someone was at home."
The District Attorney’s Office said Lee told investigators that "his gang leader told him that they had been paid for the arson and murder and even supplied him with the gas can."
However, Lee reportedly told officials he didn’t want to set the home on fire, so he "poured the gas only on the concrete areas where he knew it would not ignite."
Two adult victims testified during the trial and said they believed "they were about to be burned alive in their own home" when they saw their "home encircled with gasoline."
According to the District Attorney’s Office, officers discovered that the homeowner was the mother of a man who allegedly killed someone, and the arson was an act of retaliation. The homeowner’s son, who the District Attorney’s Office did not identify, is in jail on suspicion of murder.
Lee’s sentencing is scheduled for April 24, and he faces up to 100 years in prison without parole.
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