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Wannabe Musician Pleads Guilty To Torching Historical Black Churches For Notoriety

By Published February 11, 2020

A 22-year-old wannabe metal musician who set three African-American Baptist churches in Louisiana on fire last year to gain notoriety has pleaded guilty to four federal criminal counts.

Holden Matthews who is the son of a sheriff’s deputy, was emulating Norwegian neo-Nazi metal musician Varg Vikernes, who served 15 years in prison for crimes that included burning churches prosecutors said.

Matthews also videotaped the arson attacks and then posted the footage to Facebook admitted he set the fires to raise his profile as an aspiring "black metal" musician.

A statement from federal prosecutors said that Matthews pleaded guilty to three counts of intentional damage to religious property, a federal hate crime carrying a possible 20-year sentence per count. He also pleaded to one count of using fire to commit a felony, which has a possible 10-year sentence. He entered the pleas in federal court in Lafayette.

Three historic black churches were torched in 10 days, beginning in late March 2019, in an area roughly 140 miles west of New Orleans in St. Landry Parish.

Matthews destructive act evoked memories of civil rights-era terrorism, He will be sentenced in May.

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