October 21, 2020

Man accused of setting black churches on fire to appear in court

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.

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.”