23 year old Holden Matthews, a Louisiana man, set fire to 3 African American churches over the span of 10 days in 2019.
According to the Department Of Justice, Matthews plead guilty to three counts of violating the Church Arson Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 247(a)(1) — one count for each church — as well as one count of using fire to commit a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h).
Matthews said he committed these acts as a way to gain notoriety in the black metal community. On Monday November 2nd, Matthews was sentenced to 300 months or 25 years in prison for these heinous acts. He will then have to serve 3 years probation. Matthews was also ordered to pay restitution fees of $590,246 to St. Mary Baptist Church, $970,213.30 to Greater Union, and $1,100,000 to Mt. Pleasant.
Matthews said that he took photos of the burnings and posted them to social media in real time in order to help boost his credibility in the black metal scene, with his band Vodka Vultures.
In the time since these acts were committed, Matthews says that he has now “found Christ”, and is remorseful for the things he did. During his sentencing Matthews said, “There are not enough words in the English language to express how sorry I am. If I could go back and change it all I would.”