For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
, United States Attorney
Maria Chapa Lopez
Contact: William Daniels
Sarasota Woman Convicted of Arson Conspiracy
Field Division: Tampa Field Division
Tampa Florida – A federal jury has found Rashica Shaguana Ford (39, Sarasota) guilty of conspiracy to commit arson. She faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison. Her sentencing hearing has not yet been set. Ford was indicted on November 24, 2017, along with two co-conspirators, Jodarin Marquis Whitfield and Herbert Adelphus Pinckney.
According to testimony presented at trial, in the early morning hours of March 11, 2015, Whitfield and Pinckney set fire to an individual’s home by attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail through the victim’s bedroom window. In addition to the owner, two adults and five children were inside the home at the time of the incident. The Molotov cocktail did not break the window and only damaged the exterior of the home. All occupants of the home escaped safely.
The arson was orchestrated by Ford (Whitfield’s girlfriend/Pinckney’s sister) as retaliation stemming from an altercation between Ford and the victim.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the State Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, the Bradenton Police Department, the Bradenton Fire Department, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to develop districtwide crime reduction strategies, incorporating the lessons learned since the program’s inception in 2001. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.