Pastor’s son pleads guilty in church fire

| June 14, 2010

WINDER — Two of the three men charged with arson in a 2005 fire that destroyed New Life Deliverance Church pleaded guilty this morning in Barrow County Superior Court.

Prosecutors believe the Rev. Quincy Arnold, 50, of Lawrenceville, asked his 25-year-old son Maurice Arnold to burn down his New Life Deliverance Church in December 2005. Maurice Arnold in turn hired 48-year-old Bruce Edward Smith of Monroe to help him, authorities said. All three men were arrested in 2009.

Maurice Arnold and Smith pleaded guilty while Quincy Arnold, former pastor of New Life Deliverance, denies having anything to do with the plot to destroy the church.

He is expected to face charges in October of insurance fraud, vandalizing a place of worship, first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit a crime, said District Attorney Brad Smith.

Prosecutors had expected Smith to plead guilty.

He has cooperated with investigators from the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and has agreed to testify at Quincy Arnold’s trial, Assistant District Attorney James Knox told Barrow County Superior Court Judge Currie Mingledorff.

He pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree arson.

Mingledorff agreed to sentence him to two years in prison and 15 years probation, and to suspend the prison time if Smith agrees to highly supervised probation.

Prosecutors had not expected Maurice Arnold to plead guilty Monday. He pleaded guilty to first-degree arson, vandalizing a place of worship and conspiracy to commit a crime, but stipulated that he only conspired with Smith, not his father. He will be sentenced July 21 and will be held in the Barrow County Detention Center until then.

Mingledorff did not require Maurice Arnold to describe details of the arson as part of his plea.

The judge did ask Smith to recount details from the day of the arson but Smith told him that he was so high on methamphetamine at the time that he couldn’t remember anything except that he was at the church.

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Category: Church Security

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