Arson suspect pleads guilty

| September 22, 2009

ALBANY – Curtis Jones, 41, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to conspiracy to commit arson in the first degree for his involvement in the burning of the Trinity Metropolitan Baptist church on West Gordon Avenue said Chief Assistant District Attorney Chris Cohilas.

Cohilas said that after pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge, Jones was sentenced to five years in prison with 19 months to serve.

Cohilas said that Jones was indicted after an investigation performed by the Albany Fire Department in conjunction with the District Attorney’s office led investigators to believe that Jones was one of three conspirators to ignite the church on Dec. 31, 2007.

"Evidence developed from the investigation pointed to Jones’ involvement," he said.

Prosecutors said they believe that the fire that caused more than $150,00 in damages to the church was a plot by the church’s minister the Rev. Joseph Howard III, 45, Vincent Darrell Jackson, 45, and Jones to collect insurance money from the church.

Investigators said they believe that Howard paid Jackson and Jones $500 to set fire to the church.

"Vincent Jackson has already plead guilty to arson and conspiracy," Cohilas said. "There are still charges pending on Rev. Howard."

He said that the district attorney’s office is now going to discuss whether or not to present evidence to a grand jury in Howard’s case.

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Category: Church Security

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