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Louisiana church fire: Man on fire sentenced to 25 years



Holden Matthews, 23, pleaded in February to intentionally fire three African-American Baptist churches over a 10-day period in March and April 2019, “because of the religious nature of the buildings. This, in an attempt to raise its profile as a ‘Black Metal’ musician, “the department said at the time.
Matthews copied a Black Metal musician in Norway in the 1990s, who burned the church, the ministry said.

Matthews has to pay $ 590,246 for St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Mary Baptist, $ 970,213.30 for Greater Union and $ 1.1 million for Mt. Pleasant, a DOJ statement said on Monday. He will have three years of supervised release.

CNN contacted an attorney for Matthews.

The fire has burned down all three churches in Landry Parish.

“These churches have their origins in the post-Civil War Reconstruction period and for generations, are a place primarily for African-American Christians to gather, pray, worship, and honor their faith. “Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said. “The churches have existed for nearly 1

50 years, but this defendant’s act of hatred has not survived.”

Matthews admitted that after the last fire, he took pictures and videos with his cell phone and posted them on Facebook “in an effort to promote himself within the Black Metal community,” according to the statement.

Community interest grew as the first St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre was burned, followed by the destruction of Great Union Baptist Church on April 2 and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, both are in Opelousas.

Matthews was arrested on April 11, 2019.

“Members of St. US Attorney’s Church Alexander C. Van Hook of Louisiana’s West County said.

Matthews pleaded guilty to three crimes of violating the Church Burn Prevention Act – one for each church – and one for using fire to commit a federal felony, DOJ said.


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