21-Year-Old Accused Of Setting Fire To Three Black Louisiana Churches Faces Hate Crime Charges

From Google Images

From Google Images

Marcela Marcial, Beat Investigator - Featured Athlete

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Three St. Landry Parish churches, which were all empty at the time, burned to the ground within 10 days of one another, with the first fire occurring on March 26. From late March going into the first week of April, these three historical churches were set on fire in South Central Louisiana.

A 21-year-old man, Holden Matthews, was is accused and charged for the hate-crime arson.  The first fire, St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, took place on March 26th, followed by the second church, Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, on April 2nd and two days later, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was also burned down.

From Google Images

By the remains of a 2-gallon gas can and the help of surveillance cameras, investigators saw the same pickup truck driving around the churches before and after it went up in flames, which led them to finding Matthews.

Matthews’ “reasoning” for burning down the black churches is that they have a connection with a genre of music called ‘black metal’, and “its associated history with church burning in other parts of the world,” according to CNN. Matthews was vary active on Facebook group chats that focused on ‘black metal, heathenism, and Nordic religious belies’.

The suspect is the son of a sheriff’s deputy and has no history of arrests or violence, authorities say. He is now charged with “three counts of simple arson on a religious building” and each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.

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