St. Mary Baptist Church was the first in the string of arson church fires that haunted St. Landry Parish over a course of 10 days. Pastor Kyle Sylvester says he’s praying for arson suspect Holden Matthews.
“I’m still praying for the young man that he understands the severity of what he’s done to not just us but to the faith community,” Pastor Sylvester said.
The St. Landry Parish District Attorney, Early Taylor says Matthews was denied bail.
Taylor expains for the simple arson of a religious building charges Matthews faces up to 30 years for the two counts; that’s up to 15 years per count.
Pastor Sylvester hopes the suspect understands the crimes he’s accused of. “Understand that this is not good and that he repents and that he asks for God’s forgiveness,” Sylvester noted.
The district attorney says the three counts of a hate crime combined carry up to 15 years and aggravated arson up to 20 years. “I think justice will be served. I’m going to let the justice system do whatever it needs to do in this situation,” the pastor said.
The district attorney adds that some of charges include two years without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.