Holden Matthews admitted guilt to burning three historical Black Louisiana Churches.
What We Know:
- Last year, the court charged Holden Matthews with three counts of intentional damages to religious property. The crime went against the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996.
- The act expressed, as Federal jurisdiction, the law constitutes such acts as hate crime relating to the damages of religious property. Any that commit such crimes are liable to face a possible 20-years in prison per count (Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996).
- Matthews burned three historically black churches: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and St. Mary Baptist Church.
- According to a report from NBC News, Matthews also pleaded to one count of using fire to commit a felony; those that commit such acts are liable to a possible 10-years in prison.
- Furthermore, a member of Greater Union Baptist Church, Monica Harris said, “Seeing the church in the condition it is now, it’s almost like losing a family member.” The Rev. Harry J. Richard of Greater Union said in a gathering Sunday, “They burned down a building. They didn’t burn down our spirit.”
- At the time, Matthews, 21, the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy, committed arson on three churches in the span of 10 days.
- NAACP President said in a statement, “For decades, African-American churches have served as the epicenter of survival and a symbol of hope for many in the African-American community. As a consequence, these houses of faith have historically been the targets of violence.”
- Finally, the U.S. Attorney said in a statement, “Matthews admitted to setting the fires because of the religious character of these buildings, in an effort to raise his profile as a ‘Black Metal’ musician by copying similar crimes committed in Norway in the 1990s.”
Additional information developing.