Woman accused of setting fires in church competent to stand trial

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A woman accused of setting fires in a Lake Charles church early last year was found competent Wednesday to proceed with her

defense.

Shlanda Brouchet, 35, is charged with

simple arson of a religious building. She was found in Bethel

Metropolitan Baptist Fellowship

Church on Jan. 28, 2012, attempting to light a Bible on fire with a

cigarette lighter, according to an offense report.

Brouchet was in a wheelchair in court

Tuesday. According to court testimony, she was examined by two

psychiatrists. Dr. Garrett

Ryder found Brouchet competent. Dr. James Anderson said she “can

be restored to competency within a reasonable period of time

if she is provided appropriate medical care.” Both entered the

opinions in letters submitted to the court.

Anderson said Brouchet was restrained and never opened her eyes during their interview, although she answered his questions

in a logical, organized manner.

At about 8:45 a.m. Jan. 28, officers responded to a report of Brouchet making threats while holding a gas can and cigarettes,

according to the offense report. When officers arrived at the church after 1:30 p.m. that day, they saw Brouchet through a

back window, the report says.

Several fires were lit, including

curtains, carpet and a dress, the report says. An officer put them out

with an extinguisher.

Brouchet told an officer that he was going to burn and that she

planned to set more fires once she was released, the report

says.

Brouchet had arrived in Lake Charles the day before from North Carolina — where, a family member told officers, she had recently

been released from a hospital, the report says.