Holden Matthews pleaded guilty to the charges in court on Monday.
Holden Matthews, a 22-year-old 'Black Metal' fan, has pleaded guilty in court to burning 3 churches between March and April 2019. He set fire to St. Mary Baptist Church Greater Union Baptist, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, and the St. Landry Parish all three of which are predominantly Black.
Matthews pleaded guilty to violating the Church Arson Prevention Act and to using fire to commit a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h). The three buildings he attacked were completely destroyed in the fire. It is believed that he was trying to elevate his reputation as a black metal musician and was trying to replicate the church burning crimes that were committed in Norway in the 90s.
The U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph of the Western District of Louisiana said: "Today, the defendant has taken responsibility for the burning and destruction of three of our churches. The freedom to safely congregate and worship in our churches is a fundamental right of all Americans and will be vigorously protected by my office and our law enforcement partners. I want to thank the ATF, FBI, St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, St. Landry Parish Fire Department, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Louisiana Attorney General's Cybercrime Unit, Louisiana State Police, and the Florida State Fire Marshal for their hard work and seamless collaboration on this case."
Matthews is currently awaiting his sentence and would get a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 70 years based on the judge's decision.