FILE – in This file booking image released by the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal demonstrates Holden, Matthew, 21, who was arrested on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in connection with suspicious fires at three historic black churches in the southern part of Louisiana. The united states Department of Justice, said that the filing of a federal hate crime against Matthew in connection with three fires that destroyed the African-American churches this year. (Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, via AP)
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Judiciary said hate crime charges have been filed against a Louisiana man in connection with three fires that destroyed the African-American churches this year.
A press release from the prosecutor’s office, said 21-year-old Holden, Matthew, faces three counts of “willful damage to religious property,” which is hate crimes against them. He was also charged with three counts of using fire to commit a felony.”
The indictment said the fires were “of religious nature” of the properties.
Matthews has pleaded not guilty to related state charges. His lawyer, declined to comment on the federal charges.
Three historic African-American churches were burned and more than 10 working days from the end of March, in and around the city of Opelousas.
In the June 6 federal criminal complaint was unsealed Thursday.