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Louisiana man charged with hate crimes for setting fire to 3 black churches

Church after a fire in St. Landry, Louisiana
The Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church on Easter April 21, 2019 in Opelousas, Louisiana. The church was set on fire along with two other Opelousas churches in the span of a week. Photo: Annie Flanagan/For The Washington Post/Getty Images

A Louisiana man has been charged with federal hate crimes for intentionally burning three historically African-American churches.

Details: 21-year-old Holden Matthew allegedly set fire to the churches over the span of 10 days in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, because of "the religious characters of the properties." Matthew is the son of a local sheriff's deputy.

  • He is being charged with three counts of intentional damage to religious property, which is a hate crime under the Church Arson Prevention Act. He's also being charged with three counts of using fire to commit a felony.

Go deeper: 3 predominantly black churches burned in same Louisiana parish