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St. Landry church arson suspect to remain in federal custody

Posted at 5:56 AM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2020-02-04 18:55:56-05

The man accused of setting fire to three St. Landry Parish churches will remain in federal custody pending his trial.

Holden Matthews, 21, was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month on six counts: three counts of intentional damage to a religious facility, and three counts using fire to commit a felony.

If convicted, Matthews faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years per count of intentional damage to religious property. Matthews faces an additional mandatory minimum of 10 years for the first count of using fire to commit a felony and 20 years for the subsequent counts, all to run consecutively. He also faces up to three

years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution for each of the counts.

St. Landry church fires suspect indicted in federal court

He is also facing an indictment in St. Landry Parish, accusing him of  two counts simple arson, one count aggravated arson and three counts hate crimes. He’s being held without bond on those charges.

According to the Advocate, during a hearing Monday, June 17, prosecutors showed messages, pictures, and videos from the fires they say they found on Matthews’ phone.

The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether Matthews qualified for release under the 1984 Bail Reform Act.

A scheduling conference to set a trial date is set for Thursday.

Matthews has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Read more from The Advocate on Matthews’ hearing.