Man Found Guilty For Church Arson On Obama Election Night

| April 17, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) Breaking a two-day deadlock, a federal jury convicted a white man, Michael F. Jacques, on all three charges Thursday (April 14) for a fire that destroyed a black church the night of President Obama's election.

The guilty verdicts rocked Jacques and his family members, who had hoped the deadlocked jury might result in a mistrial. But the three civil rights and arson counts mean the 26-year-old will likely spend the next decade in prison.

Two other white defendants — Benjamin F. Haskell and Thomas A. Gleason, both 24, of Springfield — pleaded guilty last year to torching the Macedonia Church of God in Christ on Nov. 5, 2008, to express outrage at the election of the nation's first black president.

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Category: Church Security

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