A Tennessee man could face federal hate crime charges after confessing to lighting a Black man on fire because of his race.
In a jailhouse letter to a white supremacist group, John Daniel Carothers, 53, admitted to burning his Black halfway house roommate, Robert Miller, alive, citing the Bible as influence for his disturbing crime, Nashville News Channel 5 reported.
Authorities suspected Carothers targeted Miller in the arson-murder, which occurred at a Murfreesboro home in March, and now have solid proof that he did after deputies spotted the letter in the jail’s outgoing mail. It’s unclear which white supremacist group the letter was addressed to.
“I believe the Bible is about white people and for white people,” Carothers confessed in his letter. “I am in the Rutherford County Jail for burning a Black man I set on fire with lighter fluid poured on his head.”
Since finding the letter, prosecutors say they’re now considering upping the charges against Carothers by pursuing a hate crime enhancement. The move could lead to federal hate crime charges and harsher sentencing if the suspect is found guilty at trial, according to the station.
Although Tennessee doesn’t have a hate crime statute, prosecutors say the Department of Justice can choose to intervene if necessary.
Carothers remains in custody at the county jail.