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White suspect in black church fires charged with hate crimes | TribLIVE.com
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White suspect in black church fires charged with hate crimes

Associated Press
1026282_web1_1026282-7fad60ccbc9a40acae33c505e5758609
AP
In this April 4, 2019 file photo, firefighters and fire investigators respond to a fire at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, in Opelousas, La.
1026282_web1_1026282-bf0b5a1e3aa54febaa97f2c30117b0fc
AP
This booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal shows Holden Matthews, 21, who was arrested Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in southern Louisiana.

OPELOUSAS, La. — Prosecutors have now added hate crime charges against the white suspect in three recent arson fires that destroyed African American churches in Louisiana.

Twenty-one-year-old Holden Matthews pleaded not guilty at a Monday court hearing. He was ordered to be held without bond.

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

Matthews is the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy. He was arrested Wednesday on three charges of arson of a religious building. The three additional hate crimes charges — one for each blaze — were added Monday.

Authorities at Monday’s hearing also outlined a litany of new evidence that prosecutors say ties Matthews to the crimes.

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