Update: March 8, 2006 - 3 College Students Arrested in Alabama Church Fires
Update: April 10, 2007 - Ex-Students Are Sentenced for Burning Rural Churches
Russell DeBusk, Matthew Lee Cloyd, Benjamin Mosely
Map of Church Fires:
List of ten Alabama church fires:
Bibb County, reported Friday, February 3rd:
- Ashby Baptist Church in Brierfield -- destroyed
- Pleasant Sabine near Centreville -- destroyed
- Old Union Baptist at Brierfield -- minimal damage
- Antioch Baptist at Antioch -- minimal damage
- Rehobeth Baptist Church in the Lawley community -- destroyed
Greene County, reported Tuesday, February 7th:
- Morning Star Missionary Baptist off County Road 20 in Boligee -- destroyed
Pickens County, reported Tuesday, February 7th:
- Dancy First Baptist Church off Highway 17 near Aliceville -- damaged
Sumter County, reported February 7th:
- Galilee Baptist Church in the Panola community -- destroyed
- Spring Valley Baptist Church off Highway 116 near Emelle -- damaged
Lamar County, reported Saturday, February 11th:
- Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in Beaverton -- destroyed
10th Alabama church burns [CNN, Feb. 12, 2006]
Fires burn 4 more Alabama churches [CNN, Feb. 8, 2006]
Church blazes 'No. 1 priority' for federal agency [CNN, Feb. 8, 2006]
Alabama Churches Set Ablaze [FoxNews, Feb. 4, 2006]
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives-
ATF Responds to Four Additional Alabama Church Fires [ATF.gov, Feb. 7, 2006]
ATF and Alabama Offer $10,000 Reward for Church Fires [ATF.gov, Feb. 3, 2006]
ATF Deploys Resources to Alabama Church Fires [ATF.gov, Feb. 3, 2006]
Update - The New York Times, 3 College Students Arrested in Alabama Church Fires:
Three college students from the prosperous suburbs south of Birmingham, two of them 19 and one 20, were arrested today in the burning of nine Baptist churches in rural Alabama last month that federal officials say was a prank that spun out of control.
Benjamin N. Moseley and Russell L. DeBusk Jr., both 19 and students at Birmingham Southern College, were arrested after admitting their involvement in the fires to federal agents who had been led to them by tire tracks left behind at several of the burned churches, officials said.
Arrested a few hours later was Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20, a student at the nearby University of Alabama-Birmingham whose mother was the owner of the 2000 Toyota 4Runner that had left the tracks, federal agents said in an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint against the three men.
Suspect: Church fires started as 'joke' [CNN, Mar. 9, 2006]
Three students arrested in connection with Alabama church fires [CNN, Mar. 8, 2006]
Jim Noles / April 10, 2007 / NY Times:
Ex-Students Are Sentenced for Burning Rural Churches -- Three former college students who set fire to churches in rural Alabama in February 2006 were sentenced to prison on Monday on federal arson charges.
The defendants apologized for the fires, with one of them saying that the incidents followed a night of drinking and deer poaching.
“This is the close of a chapter, but not of the book,” Judge R. David Proctor of Federal District Court told the young men. “I hope that you will all find a way that, when that last chapter of that book is written, some good will come of this.”
Two of the defendants, Benjamin N. Moseley and Matthew L. Cloyd, were sentenced to eight years and one month for setting nine fires over two nights. The third defendant, Russell L. DeBusk Jr., who was involved in only the first five fires, was sentenced to seven years.
All three were also sentenced to five years of supervised release, 300 hours of community service and $3.1 million in restitution payments to the burned churches. [...]