On the night of Wednesday, April 10, 21-year-old Holden Matthews was arrested in reference to three fires that terrorized the African American communities of Louisiana. Within the span of lower than two weeks, beginning on March 26, St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, the Higher Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and the Mount Nice Baptist Church in Opelousas have been all set ablaze. On Monday, prosecutors added new prices to Matthews’s listing. Declaring the arsons to be hate crimes, a choose denied Matthews bail.
Matthews pled not responsible Monday, through videophone from the St. Landry Parish jail. His trial is about for September. Matthews’s arrest got here after federal investigators joined native legislation enforcement. In response to stories, investigators found purple gasoline cans on the arson websites, matching cans Matthews allegedly bought within the space simply hours earlier than the primary fireplace.
Together with hate crimes into the costs is a crucial addition, as initially investigators tried to argue that race wasn’t the motivating issue—referring to Matthews’s curiosity in a sub style of heavy steel music known as “Black Steel.” Now, at the very least, Louisiana is accepting that these black church burnings have been racially—not musically—motivated.