Federal prosecutors on Monday sentenced a 23-year-old Louisiana man to 25 years in prison for setting fire to three mainly black churches in an attempt to boost his profile as a “black metal” musician.
Holden James Mathews, 23, who burned churches for 10 days ending April 4, 2019, ordered the churches to pay about $ 7 2.7 million. He pleaded guilty in federal court in February to three counts of violating Church Orson’s Prevention Act and one use of fire to commit a crime.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Church weapons Jim Crow has a long history of racist crimes throughout the South.
“These churches belong to the post-Civil War Reconstruction period,” said Eric S., assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Department of Justice. Dreiband said in a statement Monday. “The churches have survived for almost 150 years, but have not escaped the hateful action of this defendant.”
Lafayette, Law. During his sentence in the United States District Court in, Mr. Mathews addressed the congregations of the churches he had burned and apologized for. The Acadiana Advocate of Lafayette.
“I do not have enough words in English to say how sorry I am,” the newspaper quoted Mr Mathews as saying. “I would do it if I could go back and change.”
The churches that Mr. Matthews burned were St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church in Port Bare, and Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, both in Opelos.
At the time of sentencing, Western District Judge Robert R. Summerhouse, two weeks after the third church fire, was given credit for Matthews being in custody for 18 months since his arrest in April 2019. The lawyer reported.
Mr Matthews pleaded guilty to six state charges in connection with the blaze, including one count of arson and three counts of hate crime. His sentence is pending.
Prosecutors said Mr Matthews admitted to targeting churches because of their religious nature.
Matthews said he was copying similar crimes in Norway in the 1990s in an attempt to raise his profile in the black metal community, the most serious of whom were perpetrators of church burning, vandalism and murder. Black metal is a subspecies of heavy metal, Known for its unique blend Chats, non-synchronized blast-beat drums and cold, treble guitar.
Prosecutors say Mr Matthews posted pictures and videos of the church cremation on Facebook and discussed it with a friend online. In a message to a friend presented in court by prosecutors, Mr Mathews mentioned a possible name for his record label: “Soul Rotting Records, ‘Music to Burn,'” he wrote.
Mr Matthews’ attorney, Dustin Charles Talbot, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday night. In February, Mr. Talbot said Mr. Matthews had social and psychological development during adolescence, and his actions were not motivated by the racial decoration of societies.
“Holden now fully understands the seriousness and gravity of his actions and deeply regrets the work he has done and the suffering he has caused to the congregations of these churches,” Talbot said.
Mr Matthews was arrested after investigators determined his debit card had been used to buy a can of gas found at the scene of the blaze.
In April, The Advocate reported The three churches are in different stages of reconstruction. The land at Mount Pleasant has been cleared and the church is waiting for an inspection to begin foundation work.
Donations to help rebuild poured churches Last year, it surpassed the organizers ’target of 8 1.8 million.
Conceptual de Leon and Marial Padilla collaborated on reporting.