Arson Defendant: Family Members ‘All Hate Me’

| February 22, 2010

Both men sat side by side in the front row of the courtroom, staring straight ahead, and not looking at each other as they waited for the proceedings to begin.

Daniel George McAllister, 21, of Ben Wheeler, and Jason Robert Bourque, 19, of Lindale, were arraigned on charges of arson with the intent to damage a place of worship in Judge Christi Kennedy’s 114th district courtroom.

The two men who stand accused in the burning of at least one East Texas church fire out of a string of 10 which have plagued the area since Jan. 1, were both arraigned today at the noon hour.

Judge Kennedy asked McAllister if he had any money or personal property to pay for an attorney. When he replied no, the judge asked if he had any family who could help him with the cost.

“No, they all hate me,” McAllister replied.

McAllister and Bourque, who remain in the Smith County jail on $10 million bond each, appeared in Smith County jail uniforms with shackles on their wrists and ankles. Bourque had his attorney, Greg Waldron, at his side as he stood before the judge, while McAllister had attorney Brent Ratekin appointed for him because he could not afford counsel.

The charge is a first degree felony, which carries a punishment of anywhere from five to 99 years to life, said Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham, who declined further comment. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be assessed.

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Category: Church Security

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