Accused of arson, man says he was beaten to obtain confession

| March 21, 2011

SPRINGFIELD — Federal prosecutors portray Michael Jacques as a racist who was so upset when Barack Obama was elected president that he and two other white men burned down a black church in Western Massachusetts.

Jacques insists through his lawyer that he is innocent and was coerced into signing a confession after more than six hours of interrogation as he suffered through painkiller and nicotine withdrawal.

A US District Court jury in Springfield will hear both sides of the story today during opening arguments in Jacques’s trial. Judge Michael Ponsor has set aside six weeks for the jury trial.

Prosecutors say Jacques and the other defendants burned down the under-construction Macedonia Church of God in Christ early on Nov. 5, 2008, just hours after Obama was elected the nation’s first black president.

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Category: Church Security

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