A woman accused of shooting into a home and attempting to set it on fire with two children inside will now be heading to prison.
In a non-negotiated plea, Lindsey Deeanne Wells pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and first-degree arson. Wells, 37, was given a 40 to serve 20-year sentence by Superior Court Judge Emory Palmer.
Wells had two competency evaluations completed leading up to her plea and in both, it was determined that she was competent at the time of the crime and competent to stand trial, according to District Attorney Herb Cranford Jr.
On the afternoon of June 7, 2017, Wells arrived at the residence of 90 Corn Crib Drive, mistaking it for the home of her cousin. Inside the house, two children were home alone watching television on the couch when suddenly they saw Wells on the back porch.
When Wells peered through the window, the kids ran behind a wall, and that’s when Wells began to shoot. After allegedly firing two rounds from a .380 handgun into the residence, Wells then attempted to use lighter fluid to set the home on fire, investigators said.
The fire caused damage to the side of the home, but the flames ultimately fizzled out.
Wells reportedly fled the scene in her car and ended up at the Waffle House on 1363 South Highway 29 where employees noticed a woman acting strangely and called 911. Deputies arrived and were able to take Wells into custody without incident.
Inside her car, investigators allegedly uncovered several bottles of lighter fluid and matches. Wells admitted to shooting at the house and setting it on fire, according to Col. James Yarbrough with the Coweta County Sheriff's Office..
When asked why, Wells allegedly told deputies she had been reading tarot cards, practicing witchcraft and went to the home to kill her cousin.
However, Wells got the street names mixed up and arrived at the wrong address in the Corn Crib neighborhood.
Jenny King, the mother of the minors who were in the home, told the court of the impact the event had on her family.
"She described the fear her family felt, the changes she and her children had made to their everyday routines so they could feel safe, and the monetary impact,” Cranford said.
A statement was then presented by the intended target of Wells’ attack, who told the court of the fear she and her family felt knowing they were the intended targets.
Finally, a portion of the interview with Wells was played for the court where Wells told the investigator she did this because the life of her intended target was great and Wells' life had been destroyed and she just wanted to go to jail as opposed to ending up on the street.
The defense introduced mitigating evidence including character witnesses on Wells behalf who spoke of personal troubles she'd experienced and mental health issues she had faced.
Wells' attorneys asked the court to show leniency and sentence her to a term to not exceed 5 years to serve in the state penitentiary.
The state requested a much longer sentence.
“Her act was based on a dangerous, selfish decision wherein she decided the life of her family member and the lives of the family whose home she actually attacked didn’t matter,” Cranford said.
The state went on to say Wells made the decision that she wanted to be in prison and she was willing to sacrifice those victims to accomplish her goal.
At the conclusion of the argument, Judge Emory Palmer ruled that Wells was to be sentenced to a total sentence of 40 years with the first 20 years to be served in the Department of Corrections State Penitentiary.