Grand jury hears testimony in church arson case

| May 14, 2010

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) – A Smith County grand jury began hearing testimony, Thursday in the case of the two men suspected of burning down 10 East Texas churches.

Jason Bourque and Daniel McAllister were arrested in February. The two have only been charged with setting fire to Dover Baptist Church near Lindale on February 8th.

Sources tell us the grand jury could indict the two young men on 12 different arson, and attempted arson charges.

Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, spoke during a press conference held the night the two men were arrested.

"We have evidence to believe they were involved in the other nine fires," said McCraw.

McAllister and Bourque were arraigned the following morning.

Meanwhile, it appears the evidence investigators have gathered may have sparked some movement in the case.

Sources tell us a grand jury could hand up four different indictments against Daniel McAllister. We're told he could face indictments on two February 8th arson charges, along with two attempted arson charges.

February 8th is the same night fire crews rushed to save both Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church and Dover Baptist Church.

"I believe the people in Smith County deserve the opportunity to judge the evidence in this case," said Matt Bingham, Smith County District Attorney. He also spoke during that press conference earlier this year. "I plan to prosecute, fully," he said.

We are told the grand jury will also hear evidence and decide whether Jason Bourque is connected to alleged arsons dating back to January 16, 17, and 20.

Tyland Baptist Church was destroyed on the 16th. First Church of Christ, Scientist burned the next day. Fire broke out at Fellowship of Prairie Creek Church in Lindale on the 20th.

Bourque could also face two February 8th arson indictments, and three attempted arson indictments, for a total of eight possible indictments.

Both Bourque and McAllister remain in the Smith County Jail. Together, their bonds total more than $20 million.

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Category: Church Security