SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - According to the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office, a Shreveport woman has pled guilty to stabbing a man to death and burning his body in late 2018.
Sarah Renee Ritter, 22, was originally charged with second-degree murder which carries a mandatory life sentence at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole or reduction of sentence.
After pleading to a lesser charge, Ritter was sentenced to 40 years in prison, a decision made in agreement with the victim’s family.
Between late Nov. 30, 2018 and early Dec. 1, 2018, Ritter and her younger sister met with the victim, Tawfik Gawbahy, 34, at their home in the 2800 block of Penick Street in Shreveport.
Sometime in the night, Gawbahy walked out of a bedroom with Ritter following him with a knife hidden behind her back. She then stabbed him multiple times, with her sister also stabbing him.
Gawbahy ran downstairs to escape but Ritter caught up with him and stabbed him until he died.
Ritter called a friend to help her dispose of the body. They moved the body by truck to the 3100 block of Murphy Street, where they poured gasoline on the body and set it on fire. Ritter then drove Gawbahy’s truck to Florida, picked up her brother and drove back to Shreveport where they burned the truck on Dupont Street.
Residents of Murphey Street saw the smoke and fire from the burning truck and called the Shreveport Fire Department. Firefighters discovered Gawbahy’s body and called the police.
Witness testimony led authorities to identify Ritter as the main suspect and a search warrant was executed for her residence. Officials found blood on the stairs and on a pair of jeans. The blood was found to be an exact match with the victim.
Another search warrant on Ritter’s phone showed her proximity to the 3100 block of Murphy at the time Gawbahy’s body was burned, and her travel to Florida in the days following the incident.
Ritter’s siblings were both juveniles at the time of the crime and pled guilty. Kelvin Braziel, the friend who helped Ritter dispose of the body, was charged with accessory to after-the-fact to second-degree murder. His trial is scheduled for Oct. 26, 2020.