St. Landry church fires: See photos, other evidence prosecutors offered against suspect

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(Ashley White/The Advertiser)- Prosecutors filed as evidence with the court a number of photos, videos and text messages they claim were taken by the man accused of setting fire to three St. Landry Parish churches.

Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s deputy, was arrested in connection with the fires in April. He faces hate crime and arson charges in both state and federal courts. He’s pleaded not guilty to all of his charges. 

Federal prosecutors showed the photos and videos during a detention hearing Monday, The Advertiser reported.

They argued the evidence shows Matthews set fire to the churches because of anti-religious views and a desire to gain notoriety in the black metal music community, whose followers have been tied to church fires and extreme acts in other parts of the country.

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