Bond Hearing Scheduled for White Suspect in Black Church Fires

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OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — The white suspect in three recent arson fires that destroyed African American churches in Louisiana is scheduled for a bond hearing.

The clerk of court’s office in St. Landry Parish says the hearing for 21-year-old Holden Matthews is scheduled for Monday morning before state District Judge James Doherty.

Black Churches
This booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal shows Holden Matthews, 21, who was arrested Thursday, April 11, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in southern Louisiana. (Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal via AP)

Matthews, the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy, was arrested Wednesday on three charges of arson of a religious building.

Three black churches were torched in 10 days. Two were in the city of Opelousas. Another was in a nearby town.

Authorities have stopped short of saying there was a racial motive. But Gov. John Bel Edwards called the burnings a reminder of past acts of racial intimidation. And the NAACP said the fires were examples of “domestic terrorism.”

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